Mike Matheny: “We’ve taken a step back” with Allen Craig’s return timetable

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Allen Craig had made such good progress in his recovery from offseason knee surgery that beginning the season on the Cardinals’ active roster as a bench player became a possibility earlier this week, but this morning manager Mike Matheny all but squashed those plans.

Matheny told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that “we’ve taken a step back” with Craig’s return timetable and his being ready for Opening Day is no longer likely.

There’s certainly no reason to take any risks with Craig’s recovery in the name of getting him a handful of early season at-bats in a bench role and there’s no indication that the “step back” is a major one, at least not yet. Initially he was expected to miss all of April and perhaps even a big chunk of May, so Craig is still way ahead of schedule.

Report: Athletics sign Chris Herrmann to one-year, $1 million deal

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Athletics and catcher Chris Herrmann have agreed to a contract. It’s a one-year deal worth $1 million with performance incentives, per Fancred’s Jon Heyman.

Herrmann, 31, spent last season with the Mariners, batting .237/.322/.421 with a pair of home runs and seven RBI in 87 plate appearances. He opened the season at Triple-A Tacoma, then was called up in late May. Herrmann battled an oblique injury during the season as well.

Herrmann figures to back up Josh Phegley behind the plate in 2019.