Cardinals manager Mike Matheny sent shivers through St. Louis earlier when he told reporters that something “developed today” with Allen Craig, who is out of tonight’s starting lineup against the Giants.
As it turns out, there’s no reason for concern.
According to B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak announced about an hour before first pitch Wednesday that Craig woke up with discomfort in his chest. But X-rays turned up negative and the slugger is expected to return to action for Thursday afternoon’s series-finale with San Francisco.
Craig initially felt the chest discomfort in mid-July after slamming into a railing at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park while chasing after a foul ball. He’s been able to play through the pain up to this point.
“The Wrench” homered twice on Tuesday and is batting .298/.362/.573 in 69 games played this year. Including the 2011 postseason, he has 32 homers and 106 RBI in his last 559 plate appearances.
The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.
Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.
Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.