Associated Press Allen Craig, coming off a breakout season with St. Louis, agreed Friday to a $31 million, five-year contract that could be worth $43 million over six seasons.
Craig gets $1.75 million this year, $2.75 million in 2014, $5.5 million in 2015, $9 million in 2016, and $11 million in 2017. The Cardinals have a $13 million option for 2018 with a $1 million buyout.
The 28-year-old Craig would have been eligible for salary arbitration next winter and for free agency after the 2016 World Series.
He has 150 RBIs in 238 big league games and was sixth in the NL last season with a .307 average. He had 22 home runs and 92 RBIs despite not playing his first game until May 1 following offseason surgery on his right knee.
Craig is a career .300 hitter and became the Cardinals’ primary first baseman last year after Lance Berkman got hurt. Craig also made 30 starts in the outfield.
‘‘I think he’s proven he’s the type of player that, when he’s in the lineup, can make an impact,’’ Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said.
Craig led the major leagues with a .400 average with runners in scoring position last season.
Jeter back Saturday?
Derek Jeter could be making his first game appearance Saturday since breaking an ankle last October in the ALCS.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi made the announcement after New York’s 6-1 loss to Miami Friday in Jupiter, Fla. He said he planned to talk with Jeter on Saturday morning.
Girardi said Jeter will be the designated hitter until he’s ready to return to shortstop. The Yankees play Atlanta in Tampa on Saturday, which also could be the first game appearance of Mariano Rivera since injuring a knee last May.
In other exhibition games:
Evan Longoria hit a two-run double, helping the Rays beat the Phillies, 3-2, despite struggles from AL Cy Young Award winner David Price in Port Charlotte, Fla. . . . Josh Johnson struck out five in 3⅔ perfect innings, leading Toronto past Atlanta’s split squad, 7-1, in Kissimmee, Fla. . . . In Lakeland, Fla., Max Scherzer struck out six in 2⅔ hitless innings and the Tigers defeated the Mets, 3-2 . . . In Viera, Fla. Jordan Zimmermann was hit hard, allowing eight runs and nine hits in three innings during Washington’s 16-10 loss to St. Louis.
Sputtering startFormer Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez homered and drove in three runs, seven pitchers handcuffed United States hitters all night, and Mexico scored a decisive 5-2 win over the Americans in Pool D of the World Baseball Classic in Phoenix. Coming off a last-inning loss to Italy, Mexico (1-1) tagged US starter R.A. Dickey for four runs in the first three innings, including a two-run homer by Gonzalez in the third. Yovani Gallardo got Mexico off to a good start with 3⅓ to give a boisterous, pro-Mexico crowd of 44,256 plenty to cheer about at Chase Field. Sox outfielder Shane Victorino popped out in a pinch-hit appearance for Team USA (0-1) against Sox teammate Oscar Villarreal, who tossed a scoreless inning.
In other WBC games:
Chris Colabello drove in four runs with four hits, including a three-run homer, and surprising Italy routed Canada, 14-4, invoking the “mercy rule” to improve to 2-0 in Group D competition. Colabello, who played for Double A New Britain in Connecticut last season after seven years in the independent CanAm League, is the first player for Italy to have three RBIs in a World Baseball Classic game . . . Carlos Beltran and Mike Aviles each knocked in a run, and Puerto Rico dropped Spain, 3-0, in San Juan . . . In Tokyo, Sho Tanaka drove in the winning run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th inning to lift two-time defending champion Japan past Taiwan, 4-3, in the second round . . . Jonathan Schoop hit a three-run homer to lead the Netherlands to a 6-2 win over Cuba. Japan will face the Netherlands on Sunday with a chance to secure a spot in the March 17-19 final round in San Francisco. Taiwan must beat Cuba on Saturday to advance.