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.
The Mets rode a bloop hit and a fortuitous slide by Yoenis Cespedes into a four-run fifth inning against the Cardinals during Thursday night’s game.
After Cespedes drew a one-out walk, James Loney hit a weak pop-up into shallow left field. Left fielder Brandon Moss and shortstop Greg Garcia both gave chase but it dropped in. Cespedes, running the bases aggressively, sprinted towards third base. Moss scooped up the ball and threw to Adam Wainwright covering third base.
Cespedes appeared to have been tagged out by Wainwright, but as luck would have it, Cespedes’ cleats stuck on Wainwright’s glove and yanked it off. Cespedes was ruled safe and the Cardinals challenged the call, but it was ultimately upheld.
After that play, Curtis Granderson struck out, Wilmer Flores reached on a fielding error by Garcia, and Alejandro De Aza hit a three-run home run to right field, pushing the Mets’ lead to 7-0.
You may recall that, back in May, Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor got into a fight with Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. Bautista slid late into second base, with which Odor took issue, so he punched Bautista in the face. That earned him a seven-game suspension.
With one out in the fifth inning of Thursday’s game against the Indians, Odor reached on a fielding error by first baseman Mike Napoli. Jonathan Lucroy then hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. Odor slid hard into Jason Kipnis covering second base.
Kipnis, hearkening back to the Bautista fight, backed up as if he were afraid Odor would punch him. Odor got a good chuckle out of it, but it was the Rangers’ bench which perhaps enjoyed the joke most. The Rangers’ broadcast showing Adrian Beltre cracking up and telling his other teammates what had happened.