Cards stuff: Albert Pujols plays third, Allen Craig has fracture

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I’m not sure they’re all worthy of separate entries, but there’s plenty of Cardinals news today:

– Albert Pujols is making his fourth start and fifth appearance at third base in Wednesday’s game against the Nationals.  It may not mean a whole lot to some, but that fifth appearance gives him third-base eligibility in a lot of fantasy leagues, making the game’s No. 1 property even more valuable.

– Allen Craig, who had been doing excellent work before going on the DL on Sunday with a left knee contusion, was found to have a small fracture in his kneecap, likely putting him out through the All-Star break.  Craig has hit .336/.405/.523 with 23 RBI in 107 at-bats this year, so it’s a substantial loss.  Still, he wasn’t going to play quite so much anymore because…

– The Cardinals confirmed Wednesday that Matt Holliday would come off the disabled list on Thursday.  He’s been out since June 1 with a left quad strain.

– The team also revealed that rookie setup man Eduardo Sanchez was sent home Wednesday for a shoulder examination.  The hope is that he merely has some inflammation, leaving him day-to-day.  Still, the Cards will want to be careful with the 22-year-old.  Sanchez, who was briefly the team’s closer last month, has a 1.88 ERA in 28 2/3 innings.

– Finally, the team sent down third baseman Matt Carpenter today to make room for Kyle McClellan, who is coming off the DL to start against the Nationals.  Carpenter was 1-for-15 during his brief stay.


Jeff Samardzija to undergo MRI on right shoulder

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Update (12:58 AM ET): Per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Samardzija has been diagnosed with a strained pectoral muscle. He’ll be shut down for a week. That’s good news for the Giants, considering the alternatives.


Giants starter Jeff Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his ailing right shoulder, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. The right-hander struggled in a minor league game on Wednesday, surrendering a pair of home runs and hitting a batter. Overall this spring, Samardzija has given up 15 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits (six homers) and seven walks with seven strikeouts in 11 innings.

This may mean Samardzija won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Derek Holland would likely replace Samardzija in the rotation. Holland had been competing for the No. 5 spot in the Giants’ rotation.

Samardzija led the National League in losses last season with 15, also posting a 4.42 ERA with a 205/32 K/BB ratio in a league-high 207 2/3 innings. Since becoming a starter, Samardzija has been able to avoid injury, making 32 or 33 starts in each of the last five seasons.