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

Mar 28, 2012, 10:47 AM EDT

Allen Craig Getty Images

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.

  1. rooney24 - Mar 28, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Best of luck healing up. No sense rushing him. If he can get back in a month, that would be ahead of schedule and in time to start giving Beltran some days off. I am guessing Beltran will be more effective with 1 or 2 days off a week. If healthy, and able to hit like last year, Craig needs to play at least 4 days a week. It would give the Cards quite a few options for getting guys in, while still getting them rest to stay healthy.

  2. spudchukar - Mar 28, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Always been a big Matheny fan, and viewed his hiring as an out-of-the box brilliant move. All that said, he has been a little too cute lately. A week ago, I believed the Cards bullpen was arguably their strongest suit, but now it has taken a major hit. Linebrink, meh. Marte, meh squared. The Sanchez demotion is puzzling. I know all the talking points, but he has the BEST stuff of all relievers and with the absence of Lynn we sure are not what we were a week ago.

    As good as the Cards rotation is, only Wainwright can be counted on to go beyond 6 innings. This means a heavily taxed bullpen, which was okay when there was a plethora of wealth, but now the work load could become an issue.

    • paperlions - Mar 28, 2012 at 3:07 PM

      Agree on the bullpen stuff…not sure how much of that was his choice vs the FO…but Sanchez should be in the majors. Hey, at least they dumped Cora and Hill….I was worried that one or both of them would make it on the fabled veterany goodness factor.

      • inthecards22 - Mar 28, 2012 at 4:48 PM

        Sanchez was very wild all spring…he has some definite mechanical issues to work on in AAA. From the Post-Dispatch:

        The earned average figure compiled by Sanchez was a bit misleading as to how effective he had been this spring. Sanchez, who probably has the best swing-and-miss stuff on the staff (he struck out 14), walked five batters and hit four others and both manager Mike Matheny and general manager John Mozeliak want the 23-year-old Venezuelan to shorten his delivery so that he can have better command.

    • The Baseball Idiot - Mar 28, 2012 at 3:15 PM

      Managers don’t make the decision about who is on the roster or not. They are given 25 players (and some ‘suggestions’) and make their line-ups from there.

      A lot of GM’s give the managers some voice in what player’s they want/need, but they don’t give up the decision making. Not even Joe Torre and Tony LaRussa got that.

      • paperlions - Mar 28, 2012 at 4:22 PM

        TLR had a LOT of input into who was on the roster, especially for bullpen or bench guys. The STL FO has said that Matheny will have input as well into such decisions.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Mar 28, 2012 at 6:00 PM

        Input is not making the decision. He might have had a lot of say, but he didn’t get final say. The GM did.

  3. okwhitefalcon - Mar 28, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    No worries Craig’s timetable here (just yet), Matt Carpenter should be able to hold down Craig’s role (for now at least) and add some versatility with the ability to play 3rd at a reasonably high level. I hope the kid takes advantage of his opportunity – it’s right there for him.

    The Sanchez demotion didn’t surprise me, as good as he can be they just don’t trust him – let him work out his command issues in Memphis and smooth out the delivery a bit.

    With the odds of Linebrink and Boggs holding down the fort from the right side while Lynn is in the rotation being about slim and none over the long haul, Sanchez will get his chance soon enough – his stuff’s too good.

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