Allen Craig took batting practice with teammates “cheering and chanting his name”

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Allen Craig was left off the NLCS roster because he’s not recovered from a broken foot, but the Cardinals are holding out hope that he can be available for the World Series and he took a step toward that goal yesterday.

Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Craig took live batting practice “with a handful of teammates cheering and chanting his name as he stepped to the plate.”

Langosch also notes that Craig did some running, but the Cardinals are being very careful with how much they ask him to do in terms of cardio and mobility for fear of aggravating the foot injury. He’s got some big hurdles to clear in the meantime, but having Craig available as a bench bat or maybe even as a designated hitter would be a nice boost for the World Series.

His first base fill-in, Matt Adams, had a big NLDS versus the Pirates but has started the NLCS in a 0-for-7 slump.

Orioles acquire Alec Asher from the Phillies

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The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.

Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.

Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.

Ervin Santana gets Opening Day nod from Twins again

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Ervin Santana will once again start on Opening Day for the Twins, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports. He’ll face the Royals at home in a day game on Monday, April 3.

The last pitcher to start back-to-back Opening Days for the Twins was Carl Pavano in 2011-12.

Santana, 34, is entering the third year of a four-year, $55 million contract signed in December 2014. Last season, the right-hander finished with a solid 3.38 ERA and a 149/53 K/BB ratio over 181 1/3 innings.