Allen Craig close to beginning rehab assignment

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Lance Berkman is on the disabled list with a partially torn calf and Jon Jay exited today’s game with a shoulder injury, but at least one Cardinals hitter has some positive health news.

Allen Craig has progressed enough from offseason knee surgery that he could be cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment as soon as this weekend, according to general manager John Mozeliak.

That would start the 20-day clock for his return ticking, although that could be restarted if he suffered any kind of a setback along the way. Craig has been participating in extended spring training games, but only as a hitter.

Colby Rasmus signs a minor league deal with the Orioles

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Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that Colby Rasmus has agreed to a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles.

Rasmus, 31, played only 37 games with the Rays last year. The reason: the previous offseason he underwent surgery to repair his left hip labrum and his core muscle, and the hip continued to bother him throughout spring training. He began the season on the disabled list and made his debut on May 2, hitting .281/.318/.579 in 129 plate appearances before going back on the DL June 23. He’d never return, “stepping away” from the game in the words of the club, which placed him on the restricted list for the remainder of the season.