Allen Craig to begin season on disabled list following offseason knee surgery

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There was some optimism last weekend that Allen Craig could potentially make the Cardinals’ roster as a bench player as he continues his rehab from offseason surgery on his right knee, but things have changed over the past few days.

Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Craig will be placed on the 15-day disabled list now that outfielder Shane Robinson was awarded a spot on the Opening Day roster. The decision doesn’t come as a major surprise, as Cardinals manager Mike Matheny admitted on Wednesday that they have “taken a step back” with Craig’s timetable.

It sounds like the smart move, as there’s no need to rush him back in a limited capacity if they can have him back at 100 percent in a couple of weeks. The Cardinals will backdate the disabled list stint, so they could have him back as soon as April 10 if all goes well. Craig was originally expected to miss the first month of the season, so he’s still way ahead of schedule.

Craig has a .290/.339/.503 batting line and an .842 OPS over his first 343 major league plate appearances. The 27-year-old projects to be used in a utility role this season, possibly playing right field against left-handed starters while Carlos Beltran slides over to center and Jon Jay sits.

Astros’ bullpen throws combined one-hitter for MLB-best 30th win

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The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.

Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.

The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.

After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.