Allen Craig expected to take batting practice Thursday

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Good news here for the hobbled Cardinals.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-DispatchAllen Craig tested his strained left hamstring Wednesday with “some running” and is planning to take batting practice on the field before Thursday’s series-opener against the Phillies.

Craig has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 17 and is eligible to be activated on June 1.

The 27-year-old first baseman and corner outfielder is batting .373/.424/.765 with five home runs, five doubles and 19 RBI in just 59 plate appearances this season. St. Louis currently has a half-game lead over the Reds in the National League Central standings.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.