Allen Craig could return from the disabled list in a week

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When outfielder Allen Craig jammed his left foot on the first base bag in his first game since being traded to the Red Sox, there was some speculation that he might be shut down for the remainder of the 2014 season. Craig suffered a left Lisfranc fracture in late 2013 and hasn’t been right since, so calling it quits and aiming for a fresh start in 2015 would make sense. But it doesn’t sound like that’s the plan.

According to beat writer Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, Craig “got positive news from foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson on Friday and could come off the disabled list when eligible this month.”

The first day Craig is eligible to be activated is August 17 — next Sunday.

“We’re taking every step to ramp up his baseball activities and get him back on the field as soon as possible,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters this weekend in Anaheim. “The Lisfranc injury, that was still seen in the MRI that was done. But don’t feel that there were any chronic changes to what was viewed last year. Our approach is to get him playing and we’ll see if there’s adverse effect to more aggressive play.”

Craig was one of the most productive hitters in the National League from 2011-2013, batting .312/.364/.500 with 46 home runs and 229 RBI in 328 games for St. Louis. This year, he’s hit .237/.291/.348 in 98 games.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves