Cardinals outfielder Allen Craig told reporters when he arrived at spring training in Jupiter, Florida last month that he was hoping to be ready for Opening Day. But that never seemed very realistic.
Craig, who underwent surgery in November to repair a small fracture in his right kneecap, acknowledged Sunday to B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest that he’s now resigned to the fact that he’s not going to be available at the start of the regular season and has shifted his focus toward being back by May 1.
The 27-year-old outfielder batted .315 with a .917 OPS, 11 home runs and 40 RBI in 219 plate appearances last season for the Cardinals before slugging four home runs and collecting eight crucial RBI in 37 postseason at-bats. He’s likely to see a lot of action in right field this year in St. Louis with Carlos Beltran or Jon Jay patrolling center.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Phillies signed pitcher Henderson Alvarez to a minor league deal. If he is added to the major league roster, he’ll earn $750,000 prorated.
Alvarez is still only 27 years old but hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2015 due to shoulder issues. He signed with the Long Island Ducks last month, making seven starts and posting a 3.94 ERA with a 13/14 K/BB ratio in 32 innings.
The Phillies learned that Vince Velasquez will undergo season-ending surgery and also placed Zach Eflin on the 10-day disabled list, so the club is just looking for pitching depth to help take them through the end of the season. Any innings that Alvarez is able to handle will be considered a bonus.
Mets third baseman David Wright will begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday with High-A St. Lucie. He’ll be the DH.
Wright has been sidelined since May of 2016, first with a cervical disc herniation and, more recently, a shoulder impingement. He has appeared in just 75 games since his last full season in 2014. Wright is under contract through 2020 and is owed $47 million after this year. For now insurance is picking up a large portion of that.
It’s possible he’ll make a return to the Mets before the season out as the competitive portion of their year is basically over and giving him a chance to see big league pitching before he begins what one hopes is a normal offseason might be a good confidence boost. What meaningful role he ever plays in the big leagues again, however, is decidedly up in the air.