After delivering RBI hits off the bench in each of the first two games Allen Craig will move into the starting lineup for the next three games as the World Series shifts to Texas and American League rules.
Craig is expected to serve as the Cardinals’ designated hitter for Games 3, 4, and 5, although it’s possible manager Tony La Russa could decide to use him in the outfield at some point while shifting Matt Holliday or Lance Berkman to the DH spot.
During the regular season Craig made at least five starts in all three outfield spots in addition to 10 total infield starts at third base and second base, hitting .313 with nine homers and a .917 OPS in 47 total starts. He batted .324 with a .920 OPS in 36 appearances off the bench.
And with Craig in the starting lineup at least Alexi Ogando can begin planning ahead for their next matchup.
Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.
Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.
In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.
Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.
Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.
Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.