Cardinals add Allen Craig, drop Erik Komatsu

The St. Louis Cardinals get a key hitter back, but give up their Rule 5 selection in the process.

The St. Louis Cardinals recalled infielder/outfielder Allen Craig from his injury rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Memphis and activated him from the 15-day disabled list for Tuesday's series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Craig, 27, was sidelined from the beginning of the season as he continued his recovery from right knee surgery that took place last off-season. He was close to being ready for the start of the season, but suffered a setback during minor league spring training games.

The right-handed hitter launched two home runs Monday night for Memphis while playing first base and completed his rehab assignment with the Triple-A team by batting .353 (6-for-17) with seven RBI in four games. He batted .364 (4-for-11) with a home run and RBI in three games at Palm Beach (A-Advanced) prior to his transfer to Memphis.

A post-season standout for St. Louis in 2011, Craig hit four home runs, including three in the World Series, and caught the final out of World Series Game 7. During the regular season, he batted .315 with 11 home runs and 40 RBI in 75 games.

Short-term, Craig is expected to take over at first base for injured Lance Berkman, sending Matt Carpenter back into a reserve role. Once Berkman is healthy, Craig will sub at first and in the corner outfield positions.

To make room for Craig on the 25-man active roster, the St. Louis Cardinals designated outfielder Erik Komatsu for assignment. The 24-year-old was a Rule 5 selection from the Washington Nationals last December.

In his major league debut, the former Minor League Player of the Year with Milwaukee had 21 plate appearances in 15 games. Komatsu had four singles and two walks, scoring three times. The left-handed hitter's line was .211/.286/.211.

Komatsu, who had never appeared above Double-A prior to 2012, was traded to Washington by the Brewers last summer in exchange for Jerry Hairston. Komatsu was left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft, from where the Cardinals selected him.

Ironically, last May, the same two clubs had a reverse version of the potential upcoming transactions. The Nationals returned their 2010 Rule 5 pick, pitcher Brian Broderick, to St. Louis. Now, Komatsu may soon head the other way. That is not assured, however.

One of the other 28 MLB organizations may claim Komatsu off waivers if they want to keep him on their 25-man roster. Instead, if he clears, then Washington may elect to take Komatsu back or could work out a trade if St. Louis would like to keep him. In that trade scenario, Komatsu would remain off the Cardinals' 40-man roster and would be assigned to Memphis.

The Cardinals have been thin in the outfield at the upper levels of their system. Mark Hamilton, Aaron Luna and Tommy Pham are out, with the organization acquiring Cedric Hunter from Oakland and signing free agent Jake Shaffer in the last month.

A by-product of Komatsu's DFA is that the Cardinals' 40-man roster drops to 39. That provides them additional flexibility to add another player if needed later on.

To see the entire Cardinals system from top to bottom on one page, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation Blog.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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