Apr 25, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese (23) gets congratulated by right fielder Carlos Beltran (3) and catcher Yadier Molina (4) after hitting a two run home run in the sixth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Chicago Cubs 5-1. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-US PRESSWIRE

Cubs Vs. Cardinals: St. Louis Defeats Chicago 7-6 In Dramatic Fashion

The St. Louis Cardinals picked up a walkoff win against the Cubs on Tuesday.

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Fantasy Baseball: Allen Craig Remains Important For Lance Berkman, Carlos Beltran Owners

If your fantasy baseball team has revolved, this month, around Carlos Beltran or waited, last month, for Lance Berkman, it's hard to justify not owning Allen Craig, their versatile, hard-hitting caddy. Berkman, whose calf injury will be magnified, over the next few weeks, by the St. Louis Cardinals' desire to baby him in the early going, will likely form a de facto platoon with Craig for the rest of May, with the 27-year-old outfielder/first baseman taking a shot at most left-handed pitchers. Meanwhile Beltran has sat out each of the last two games with a sore knee--the same one that required the microfracture surgery that left him looking distinctly un-Beltran in 2010--and the Cardinals, with Craig on hand, are unlikely to be aggressive in allowing him to return.

In deep and/or NL-only leagues, even Matt Carpenter, Allen Craig's caddy, might be worth a look; he's a natural third baseman who's shown surprising power and will also benefit, if you're fast-enough on the lineup draw, from the Cardinals' long-standing desire to keep the fragile David Freese on two working ankles.


Carlos Beltran Injury: St. Louis Cardinals Sit Beltran For Second Day With Sore Knee

The St. Louis Cardinals sat hot-hitting Carlos Beltran for a second consecutive game Tuesday afternoon against the Chicago Cubs, following Monday's revelation that the outfielder—currently leading the National League with 13 home runs—was dealing with a sore knee. That's where, you'll remember, he dealt with the knee injury that ended his New York Mets tenure and nearly finished off his career; the Cardinals have been justifiably cautious since, although Beltran pinch-hit on both days, drawing an intentional walk in Tuesday's walk-off victory vs. the Cubs.

Beltran's continued presence in the box scores suggests this particularly flare-up of his knee injury isn't too serious—although it could prove ill-advised if he does go on the 15-day disabled list, since it will prevent a more aggressive backdating of the injury—but with Allen Craig back on the 25-man roster it's unlikely the Cardinals will rush Beltran now that they can help it.

Other injury news: Jon Jay is on the disabled list, and Lance Berkman is missing time for reasons ostensibly unrelated to his bum calf.


Jon Jay Injury: St. Louis Cardinals Thin In Center With Jay On DL

The St. Louis Cardinals placed Jon Jay on the disabled list Tuesday, and Jay's injury—it's a recurrence of the sprained shoulder he dealt with last month, after bouncing a little too hard off an outfield wall—shows just how thin the Cardinals' depth in center field has become since last year, where Jay was the backup himself for a scuffling Colby Rasmus. Shane Robinson made a hasty return to the 25-man roster in the ensuing roster move, while Skip Schumaker started that afternoon. And with Carlos Beltran's knee injury leaving him benched two games in a row, the Cardinals seem unlikely to risk putting him in center field any time soon.

That leaves Schumaker, who doesn't have the glove for center, and Robinson, who doesn't have the bat for it, as the Cardinals' platoon of desperation in the meantime. Erik Komatsu, their Rule 5 center fielder, was waived and has resurfaced getting regular playing time for the Minnesota Twins; down in the minor leagues, longtime near-prospect Adron Chambers, who tripled in a cup of coffee last season, has turned it around after a slow start at AAA Memphis and is currently hitting .318/.388/.403.

For the moment, the Cardinals seem content to start Robinson and Schumaker out there and hope they scrape along a few runs over replacement level. But if Jon Jay's shoulder injury becomes a more chronic concern, they'll have to deal with this position some other way.

More Cardinals news from SB Nation St. Louis:


Lance Berkman Injury: Berkman's Tuesday Scratch Not Calf-Related

Lance Berkman was scratched Tuesday from the St. Louis Cardinals' lineup ahead of their 7-6 win over the Chicago Cubs, but it apparently had nothing to do with his lingering calf injury. Manager Mike Matheny told Jenifer Langosch afterward that it was more a matter of giving Berkman a day off against the left-handed Paul Maholm and getting both David Freese and Matt Carpenter into that afternoon game. Carpenter, Berkman's primary backup at first base back in April, ended up with a crucial home run—his third of the season—although Freese went 0-5.

Berkman is 3-9 with a double since returning from the calf injury in Sunday's loss to the Atlanta Braves. On the season he's hitting .344/.462/.500—or, less misleadingly, 11-32 with three doubles, a triple, and six walks in nine games. In 2011 he hit .301/.412/.547 in 145 games, setting an unlikely career high at 35 with an OPS+ of 164. He's likely to find himself in a de facto platoon with the right-handed Allen Craig so long as he's favoring his calf and the Cardinals can't find at-bats for Craig elsewhere.


Carlos Beltran Injury: St. Louis Cardinals Star Sits With Sore Knee

The St. Louis Cardinals' hottest hitter, National League Player of the Week Carlos Beltran, has injury problems that would take a multiple-article series to properly detail, but his latest knee soreness hasn't yet been characterized as serious by the team, according to Cardinals.com's Jenifer Langosch, who notes that manager Mike Matheny called it "barking."

Beltran pinch hit in the ninth inning after sitting to start Monday's game, flying out on two pitches against Chicago Cubs reliever Rafael Dolis. He's hitting .298/.406/.653 on the season, with an NL-leading 13 home runs and 32 RBI to go with five stolen bases in six attempts. He's yet to appear in center field, but as a hitter Beltran looks every bit as healthy as he has since his best years with the New York Mets.

Beltran's knee will be babied all year; the injury initially announced as a "bone bruise" in the same knee and his subsequent microfracture surgery is what made him appear so fragile in the first place in his last years with the Mets, and what allowed the Cardinals to sign him for just two years after a 2011 season in which he had an OPS+ of 159.

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