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When and Where Will Allen Craig Play?

Allen Craig's rehab stint began Saturday with a home run, and Craig singled in his first three at-bats on Monday. That sly dog Tim Dierkes drafted Craig in the 24th round of the MLB Trade Rumors fantasy draft and assuredly is awaiting his return with relish. The question is, of course, when and where will Craig play?

With Lance Berkman out, Matt Carpenter has filled in admirably at first. Could Craig see time at first upon his return if Berkman is still injured? Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch wrote that "Matheny said he wasn't sure what position Craig will play - left, right, or first base - when he takes the field Tuesday." Obviously, Matheny was speaking only of Craig's rehab assignment, but could this indicate that the Cardinals plan on giving Craig a look at first base? He ended up serving as the designated hitter in Tuesday's game, but it will be interesting to see where he plays going forward. If Jon Jay struggles to return from his shoulder injury, Carlos Beltran could move to center field and Craig could see time in right. With a .399 wOBA in 219 plate appearances last year and three minor league seasons with wOBAs over .400, Craig certainly warrants your attention. It is difficult, however, to project more than 400 plate appearances for Craig in 2012.  

Andres Torres also began a rehab assignment, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and two stolen bases on Monday. If he's been dropped in an NL-Only league, stash him on the DL and see if he can regain the leadoff spot when he returns to the Mets. With Jason Bay now on the DL with a fractured rib, Torres shouldn't have any issue getting back into the lineup right away. Torres was 0-for-4 on Tuesday night, but played center field without issue. 

Josh Johnson was dealing in Flushing on Tuesday night. I really should have said something about buying low on Johnson, but I suppose I was too busy with Francisco Liriano and Tim Lincecum. Hopefully you struck while the iron was hot and Johnson was cool, because the location and stuff he showed Tuesday tonight against the Mets was vintage Josh Johnson. It only makes sense that it would take a few starts for him to find his rhythm after going an entire year without pitching in the Majors. 

Tim Lincecum's fastball was still at 90-91 on Monday, but he showed better location, setting up his breaking pitches. In the fourth, the fastball dipped to 89, and he missed badly a few times. The fifth inning was pretty ugly, but Emmanuel Burriss and Brandon Crawford bailed him out with a nifty double play. Lincecum walked five batters in all. He'll face the Padres this weekend. If you can still get a deal on Lincecum, capitalize before he pitches well against San Diego and the buy-low opportunity vanishes.  

Tuesday marked the Kansas City Royals' 12th consecutive loss, and the luster has worn off. Eric Hosmer, everyone and their mother's preseason darling, continues to hit the ball on the ground at an alarming rate for a projected power hitter (48.1% in 2012, 49.7% in '11). Hosmer's pedigree and minor league numbers speak for themselves, however, and he will be fine. Alex Gordon's start is the more concerning of the two, as the Royals gave Gordon a hefty $37.5 million contract in the offseason. Gordon hasn't exactly been consistent since entering the bigs, and he has struck out 20 times in his first 71 plate appearances in 2012. 


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