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.
Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.
Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.
The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.