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Allen Craig to open season on Cards' roster?

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer
Allen CraigCards outfielder Allen Craig, who hit .315/.362/.55 in spot duty last season, manned six different positions and famously tallied three home runs in the World Series, has been limited this spring after having screws surgically implanted in his kneecap last November. Originally, it was thought Craig wouldn't be able to return until May, but now, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Craig might be ready to break camp on the active roster.

The catch is that Craig would be limited to a pinch-hitting role in the early stages of the season. If the Cards take such a route, then the fifth outfielder on the roster would need to be capable of playing center, something Craig can't do, particularly in his present, compromised state.

Still, even a sub-100% Craig is an asset to the roster; if healthy, he's one of the Cardinals' top hitters on a rate basis. Manager Mike Matheny, however, is tasked with finding Craig regular ABs in a lineup that already includes Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran and Lance Berkman at Craig's most familiar positions. There are, of course, worse problems to have.
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