Cardinals outfielder and second baseman Skip Schumaker has begun a rehab assignment in Class AAA Memphis and outfielder Allan Craig is said to be close to beginning a rehab assignment of his own.
Those players' imminent return is going to cause the Cardinals some difficult questions when it comes to the roster because the guys who have replaced them at the start of the season are some of the Birds' hottest hitters so far.
Matt Carpenter, thanks in part to a monster 4-for-4 day Sunday, is batting .409 with a homer, two triples, two doubles and 10 runs batted in. Shane Robinson is batting .385 with a homer and five RBIs. In more limited playing time and Erik Komatsu is hitting .333 with a pair of walks and no strikeouts in 11 plate appearances.
None of the three on the bubble candidates deserve to be demoted -- and Komatsu can't be demoted unless the Cardinals are willing to lose his rights because he was a Rule Five draftee. So where do Schumaker and Craig fit into the picture?
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Maybe the most disappointing Cardinals player so far this season, Tyler Greene is hitting only .200 and he's piliing up the strikeouts again with six compared to one walk in 20 at bats. But he's out of options. So, like Komatsu, the Birds face a pretty good change of losing him permanently if they try to demote him. The bottom line is that it's going to be tough to keep Komatsu on the roster if Greene can't doesn't start to produce. Two weak spots on a five-man bench are pretty tough to swallow. But Greene is the more likely to stay if the Redbirds have to choose between the two because he is the best middle infielder off the bench if Daniel Descalso starts at second.
Skippy was hitless in three plate appearances Sunday with a walk.