Results tagged ‘ Allen Craig ’

Saturday tidbits: Holliday follow-up and an anniversary

It’s shaping up to be a gorgeous day in downtown St. Louis. Already into the 60s, and only a few clouds.

* The Cardinals are going to wait until Monday or Tuesday before deciding whether to place Matt Holliday on the DL. And yes, per TLR, it’s a question of whether they make a move, not when or what exactly the move will be. There’s still some hope that Holliday could be back in under 15 days, and if they felt confident that would be the case, it’s no guarantee that they’d make a move.

* In the interim,  both the 4 spot and left field will be something of a job share. As you saw in today’s lineup, Allen Craig is playing left field while David Freese is batting fourth. Craig and Jon Jay will likely split time in left field. As for the cleanup spot, it looks like Freese against lefties and Lance Berkman against right-handers.

* Today is the 10th anniversary of Albert Pujols’ Major League debut. I’ll have a story on the site about it a little later today, so do be sure to come back and check it out. Should be a nifty little package.

And, finally, the playlist:

Soul Coughing, “Soundtrack to Mary”
Belly, “Feed the Tree”
Cake, “When You Sleep”
Violent Femmes, “Prove My Love”
R.E.M., “Exhuming McCarthy”

-M.

Craig scratched

Allen Craig has been scratched due to “left leg tightness,” according to Cardinals media relations. Nick Stavinoha will take his place in right field and in the No. 6 spot in the batting order.

New Cardinals lineup:
1. Schumaker 2B
2. Theriot SS
3. Carpenter 3B
4. Holliday LF
5. Hamilton 1B
6. Stavinoha RF
7. Jay CF
8. Laird C
9. McClellan P
-M.

Are you experienced?

Baseball has a few set-in-stone rules, some of which are widely known to most fans and some of which are not. One that may be less well-known is this: service time trumps just about anything else.

When it comes to locker placement, jersey numbers, etc., it’s all about big league service time. Guys with experience get first pick. That fact was on display once again on Monday when clubhouse manager Rip Rowan told a few reporters about some new uniform numbers for the 2011 Cardinals.
* Jim Edmonds will, not surprisingly, receive his famous No. 15. Rowan said that when Edmonds was offered 15, the long-time star said he’d take it if Jon Jay would give it up. Well, that’s not really much of a choice for Jay. So Jay gave it up.
* Jay, then, gets No. 22. Raul Valdes, who had been ticketed to wear No. 22, will now take 37. Jay had expressed some interest in wearing No. 19, but Ramon Vazquez had already requested it. NOW you see about the service-time thing: Vazquez will be in camp on an NRI, with seemingly very little shot of making the roster. But he has seven years of big league service; Jay has half of one year. So 19 goes to Vazquez and Jay moves down to 22.
* Nick Punto will wear No. 8, bumping Allen Craig to No. 21. Again, service time. Craig takes Jason LaRue’s old number.
* And in a couple of other jersey tidbits, Miguel Batista will wear No. 44, with Ian Snell getting No. 48.
* As for the jerseys they’ll be wearing… In the regular season, they’ll be like they’ve always been. But the Cardinals have new Spring Training/batting practice jerseys this year. They actually got a choice of two different options, which you can see below:
Both-jerseys.jpg
Since I’m not a professional photog, and since this was taken on my iPhone, you can’t exactly tell a lot of details. But the one on the left features a good deal more blue. It has that blue that you can see on the top of the shoulders, and a strip of blue along the top of the back, above the player name.
Not surprisingly, the Cardinals chose the one on the right. Here’s a closer look at it:
Jerseys.jpg
It looks an awful lot like past Cardinals BP jerseys, and that’s no accident.
-M.

Wednesday evening tidbits from Disneyburg

Some additional tidbits following our afternoon gathering with John Mozeliak:

* Mozeliak echoed what another Cardinals official told me on Tuesday night, that the club does not expect to take anyone in the Rule 5 Draft tomorrow morning. I have heard some talk that one or two Cardinals Minor Leaguers could be of interest to other clubs, but there doesn’t seem to be huge demand and I won’t be at all surprised if there is no Cards-related movement in the Major League phase of the Rule 5.
* Though TLR said on Wednesday afternoon that Allen Craig might spend time in Triple-A in order to make sure that he gets sufficient at-bats, Mozeliak minimized the likelihood of that happening.
The quote: “Certainly, players like him should be playing, but I also don’t think there’s a lot left for him to prove at Memphis. And I do think he could be good protection, just because of his versatility and the fact that he can hit. I’m not going to rule anything out today, but if I had to guess right now, I doubt he would spend a lot of time at Memphis.”
* This is probably obvious by now, but Mozeliak said he does not expect any of the Cards’ veteran free-agent role players last year to return for 2011. Aaron Miles, Randy Winn, et al, will be finding new homes if they’re playing in ’11.
* Mozeliak said that the club didn’t aggressively pursue anything longer than a one-year deal with Ryan Theriot.
“We obviously didn’t want to drag someone new into [an arbitration] hearing room, and I think with his experience last year in a hearing room, he wanted to avoid one. So it made a lot of sense if we could come to an agreement, and we did.
“Right now, we just wanted to knock off a one-year [contract]. Not going to rule anything out down the road, but right now we’re not discussing it.”
And, finally, the playlist:
(these are literally the first five songs that came up on shuffle just now)
The Cure, “Closedown”
The Rolling Stones, “Country Honk”
Michael Jackson, “Human Nature”
Pearl Jam, “Arc”
Counting Crows, “Another Horsedreamer’s Blues”
-M.

Wednesday TLR Tidbits

I have a story going up soon on Cardinals.com on TLR’s chat with reporters today, but I also wanted to blog a few extra tidbits that didn’t make it into that story.

* He made it sound like the club is leaning very strongly toward playing Lance Berkman in right field, rather than shifting Matt Holliday and playing Berkman in left.
The quote: “Lance has played more right field than he’s played anything. So I think our plan is to go into Spring Training with Matt playing left and Lance working in right.”
* At this point, the manager does not consider Berkman a platoon player.
“I think he’s an everyday player against everybody. You know, there were a couple of years there where his numbers were down. Last year’s…  You know, he can hit, he can just plain flat hit, so…”
* He said that Allen Craig will in fact play a great deal of third base this spring.
“He proved last year he could play in the outfield. So last year he took very little work at third base, took a lot of work in the outfield. It’s going to be the opposite this year.  He’s going to get enough outfield times where he keeps reading balls. But he’s going to get a lot of work at third base because I think even if  we’re assuming David’s going to be fine, there will probably be days that David should not push it. There’s playing time for Allen, so that’s a good question, and he’s going to get more work at third base.”
-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the day, Sept. 28

Note of the night: Don’t look now, but Matt Holliday is having, well, a Matt Holliday kind of season. 

His slash lines:
2008: 321/409/538
2009: 313/394/515
2010: 313/389/539
That’s almost eerily consistent. Of course, he didn’t just hit 310/390/540 every week of the season. He’s come on extremely strong lately, including a 378/486/633 line in September. It started a bit ugly, but the end result is going to be exactly what the Cardinals signed up for.
Somewhat like Albert Pujols, Holliday is a bit reluctant to talk about trends. But he acknowledged that things are going well lately.
“I’ve had a pretty good month,” he said. “I don’t know what the numbers are. I feel like I’ve driven some runs in. It’s so day-to-day to me that I don’t really look at periods. But I feel good.”
Rather than the numbers, Holliday pointed to how he’s getting them.
“I feel like I’m seeing the ball well and hitting the fastball up the middle and pulling the offspeed,” he said. “Those are my points, trying to hit hard balls through the middle of the field, and if an offspeed pitch hangs, pull it.”
Stat of the day: After a 1-for-19 start to his big league career, Allen Craig has hit. Since the All-Star break, he’s at 286/333/468 in the Major Leagues (and, of course, crushing when he’s been down at AAA). 

I remain a Craig believer. I think he can hit, and I think he will hit at the big league level.

Fun with double situational splits: When Albert Pujols leads off an inning at home this year, he’s 20-for-42 (.476) with six walks, five strikeouts and eight extra-base hits, for a .542 on-base percentage and a .905 slugging percentage.

And, finally, the playlist:
I’ve been listening to the Drive-By Truckers pretty much incessantly lately, but an all-DBT playlist will have to wait until Saturday or Sunday in honor of their upcoming show at the Pageant. So instead, y’all get to take the reins tonight. Five suggestions from Twitter followers (@MatthewHLeach) are listed below:
Pearl Jam, “Do the Evolution”
Otis Redding, “Dock of the Bay”
Avett Brothers, “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise”
Mike Doughty, “I Hear the Bells”
The National, “Available”
-M.

Notes of the night/Stats of the day, Aug. 23

Hello, all…

Back from a great mini-vacation in the Smoky Mountains, and coming to you live from Pittsburgh. I’ve been far too negligent about writing on the blog lately, so hopefully this serves as a nice, meaty return.
Note of the Night, 1: Monday night marked TLR’s 1300th win as the manager of the Cardinals, extending his own franchise record. For some perspective, there are only 27 other managers in the history of the game who won 1300 games total. Of those 27, 18 are in the Hall of Fame. La Russa reached that number after already establishing himself as one of the game’s top managers in two other stops.
La Russa became the 12th manager in history to win 1300 games with one team. And, typically, he brushed it off when it was brought up.
First, he sincerely didn’t know. As he was holding his postgame news conference, he received a text message congratulating him on the milestone. He asked me and Rick Hummel if the stat was true. Told that it was, here’s what he had to say:
“It’s a real nice number. It’s called longevity. That’s the reason for the number. Our fans are not happy with that number because we’re not in first place.”
Note of the Night, 2: TLR reached a round number on Monday, while Albert Pujols got closer to one. He’s one homer away from 400. But he insisted it’s not something he has to work to keep out of his mind.
“You don’t play for numbers,” he said. “It’s a great milestone, but I’m not thinking about it. I hope it will come with a great win with our ballclub. That’s what I play for. I thank God that I was able to hit it today in the first inning, to give a little bit of cushion for Kyle.
“It’s something that, yes, it’s a big milestone, but you get 400, you want to get 400 more I guess. I play one day at a time, one year at a time.”
There’s a pretty decent chance he reaches it this week, and even in the next two games. He’s torrid, and he crushes the ball in Pittsburgh.
Note of the Night, 3: Allen Craig had no warning he was going in to play second base on Monday night. He could do the math and figure out he might be the choice, but it wasn’t like he was given a heads up.
He didn’t mind.
“I was hoping I’d get [a play],” Craig said.
TLR said he had no hesitation to give Craig a look there.
“He’s an infielder,” the manager said. “I played second base, how tough can it be?”
Stat of the Day, 1: Yadier Molina is batting .348 since the All-Star break with a .395 on-base percentage.

Stat of the Day, 2: Matt Holliday has 206 doubles since the start of the 2006 season, the most in the Major Leagues.
Stat of the Day, 3: According to the amazing and invaluable Play Index at Baseball-Reference.com, and my hand-calculations based on that resource, Monday marked the 14th game in ujols’ career in which he’s come to the plate needing a triple for the cycle.
He’s had a single, double, and homer in the same game I believe 26 times, but it’s the 14th game that he’s done it and then come to bat with a chance to finish the deal. Three of those times, he’s homered.
Fun with Double Situational Splits: Since the All-Star break, Brendan Ryan is batting .368 with a .400 OBP and a .447 slugging percentage against left-handed pitchers.

And, finally, the playlist:
How about a road special for the beginning of a long road trip? And while we’re at it, let’s go 10 songs for a 10-game trip.
Willie Nelson, “On the Road Again”
Black Crowes, “Wiser Time”
Bob Seger, “Turn the Page”
Bruce Springsteen, “Thunder Road”
The Who, “Going Mobile”
Metallica, “Wherever I May Roam”
Rolling Stones, “All Down the Line”
Chuck Berry, “You Can’t Catch Me”
Pearl Jam, “Rearviewmirror” (single greatest driving song ever, IMO)
Johnny Cash, “I’ve Been Everywhere”
-M.

Miles up, Craig down

The Cardinals purchased the contract of infielder Aaron Miles on Tuesday, optioning outfielder Allen Craig to Triple-A Memphis. Miles had been playing at Double-A Springfield.

Miles, 33, was a member of the Cardinals from 2006-2008 and enjoyed his best Major League seasons in St. Louis. He was a part of the ’06 World Series title team, and in ’08 he batted .317 with a .355 on-base percentage for the Redbirds.
He signed as a free agent with the Cubs before the ’09 season and has had a tough time since, being traded twice before the Reds released him this spring. Miles signed a Minor League deal with the Cardinals on April 27.
He was called up to add versatility to the Cardinals bench. Miles plays three positions and is a switch-hitter. Additionally, the club would like for Craig to play regularly and get frequent at-bats.
-M.

Cards make move, confirm weekend starters

The Cardinals returned to a 12-man pitching staff on Monday, optioning left-hander Evan MacLane to Triple-A Memphis and recalling outfielder Allen Craig from Memphis. 

Craig, 25, made the Cardinals’ Opening Day roster but scuffled at the plate in part-time duty, going 1-for-18. He was optioned in late April, but is now back for a second stint in the Majors. Craig hit .275 with a .345 on-base percentage and .382 slugging percentage in 28 games at Memphis.
MacLane was summoned from Memphis to provide depth over the weekend for the Cardinals’ bullpen, but did not appear in a game. He will rejoin the Triple-A starting rotation.
In a noteworthy non-move, meanwhile, the Cards kept Adam Ottavino on the Major League roster. Manager Tony La Russa confirmed that Ottavino is scheduled to start on Saturday against Milwaukee. Adam Wainwright will pitch Friday against the Brewers, with Jaime Garcia getting the series finale on Sunday.
-M.

Lopez to DL among Cards moves, plus lineups

The Cardinals placed infielder Felipe Lopez on the 15-day disabled list on Monday due to a right elbow injury, recalling infielder Tyler Greene from Triple-A Memphis to take his place. St. Louis also sent outfielder Allen Craig to Memphis and recalled outfielder Jon Jay.
Lopez, 29, has been dealing with discomfort in his throwing elbow since the Cardinals’ April 11 game in Milwaukee. However, manager Tony La Russa has said that Lopez didn’t notify the club of any issue until after he started on April 19, two days after he pitched in a 20-inning St. Louis loss to the Mets. Lopez appeared in all three games of the Cardinals’ just-ended weekend series in San Francisco, so the move cannot be backdated. He is hitting .273 with a .347 on-base percentage and a .432 slugging percentage, and has started three games apiece at second base, shortstop and third base.
His spot will be taken by Greene, 26, who was hitting .275 with a .351 OBP and a slugging .435 at Memphis. Greene is a gifted defender but struggled this spring, likely costing himself a chance to make the Opening Day roster.
Jay, 25, will be on the Major League roster for the first time in his career. He was batting .347 at Memphis with a .420 on-base percentage, a .542 slugging percentage, seven stolen bases in seven chances and 16 runs scored in 17 games. The lefty hitter replaces the right-handed-hitting Craig, 25, who went 1-for-18 in his first taste of the Majors.
Both Greene and Jay are expected to arrive at Busch Stadium at approximately game time Monday night.
Monday’s lineups:
Cardinals
1. Schumaker 2B
2. Ludwick RF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Rasmus CF
6. Molina C
7. Freese 3B
8. Ryan SS
9. Lohse P
Braves
1. Escobar SS
2. Prado 2B
3. Jones 3B
4. McCann C
5. Glaus 1B
6. Heyward RF
7. Cabrera LF
8. McLouth CF
9. Hudson P
-M.
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