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.

Yankees activate Gary Sanchez

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The Yankees have activated catcher Gary Sanchez from the 10-day disabled list. To clear a roster spot for him, the Yankees optioned Kyle Higashioka to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Sanchez missed close to a month with a strained groin. His return is more than just a comeback from an injury, however. It’s a chance to start the season over in a sense, with the hopes of putting his dreadful first half behind him. The Yankees catcher hit a horrible .190/.291/.433 with 14 home runs, 41 RBI, and 36 runs scored in 265 plate appearances before going down. He’ll look to get back on track against the Mets tonight.