KANSAS CITY -- Matt Carpenter's return from the disabled list on Friday gave manager Mike Matheny an ideal opportunity to give Allen Craig and his sore left wrist the night off.
Craig jammed his wrist in Wednesday's win when he made a diving attempt in the outfield. Though Craig served as the team's designated hitter on Thursday, he did so while still dealing with soreness from that impact. Craig finished 0-for-5 in the game.
Out of the starting lineup for the first time since June 2, Craig was available off the bench on Friday against the Royals.
With Craig needing the break, Carpenter was the obvious choice to start at first. Carpenter returned from a Minor League rehab assignment in time for the series opener. He played in six Minor League games, logging time at both corner infield and corner outfield spots.
Carpenter, who suffered his right oblique injury exactly a month ago, finished the stint 4-for-17. Three of those hits came on Thursday, when he also drove in three and scored twice in Double-A Springfield's game.
"My first six or seven at-bats, I have to be honest ... the intensity probably wasn't there like it should have been," Carpenter said. "I think the timing of it really worked out well. It just got better and better, and yesterday was probably the best I've felt both physically and with my results. I feel 100 percent now."