Allen Craig can’t catch a break.
He missed the first six weeks of the season following November knee surgery, returned to the lineup on fire by hitting .404 with a 1.284 OPS in 12 games … and is now headed back to the disabled list.
Craig strained his hamstring during Wednesday’s game and Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that he’ll be placed on the shelf before tonight’s matchup with the Dodgers, which along with Jon Jay being on the DL with a shoulder injury and Carlos Beltran missing the past four games with a knee injury leaves the Cardinals’ outfield very thin.
Last night first baseman/third baseman Matt Carpenter started in the outfield for just the second time in his entire professional career, majors or minors, and manager Mike Matheny went with 27-year-old career minor leaguer Shane Robinson in center field.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.