Allen Craig has “a nice jog” for first time since knee surgery

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Allen Craig still has a long road back from knee surgery, but today he ran for the first time since having screws inserted into his kneecap in November.

“I was able to pick up the pace to a nice jog,” Craig told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. “It wasn’t a run or a sprint, but it was a good jog.”

Craig still hasn’t been cleared to resume baseball activities and seems unlikely to be ready for Opening Day, but the Cardinals haven’t ruled that out yet.

Once healthy he’ll likely return in a part-time role, as the Cardinals signed Carlos Beltran to essentially replace Albert Pujols in the lineup and also have Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman at left field and first base.

Orioles “have begun fielding calls of interest” on Manny Machado

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports Thursday that the Orioles “are said to have begun fielding calls of interest” on superstar Manny Machado and “are close to the point of seriously weighing whether to trade him.”

You’d think it would be a no-brainer for the last-place O’s to flip Machado — an impending free agent — for prospects, but Heyman notes there is “still a question whether or not longtime Orioles owner Peter Angelos” will give the go-ahead. One person familiar with the situation put it a “50-50” likelihood. Another suggested that it would take a massive return, which, sure.

Machado entered play Thursday with a sensational .328/.405/.635 batting line, 15 home runs, and an MLB-leading 43 RBI in 49 games. It’d be a real shock if he’s still wearing an O’s uniform by the end of July.

Heyman reported previously that at least nine teams made aggressive plays for Machado this winter, including the Cubs, Phillies, Dodgers, Indians, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, and Cardinals. A whole lot of those teams still make sense here in late May — maybe all of them except the White Sox.