The St. Louis Cardinals have until Wednesday to sort out their World Series roster, but there’s early optimism that All-Star first baseman Allen Craig will be available in a limited role, most likely as a designated hitter in Boston or Detroit and pinch-hitter in St. Louis.
The hope comes after Craig tested the Lisfranc fracture in his left foot with a batting practice session on Friday. It’s reported he took 10 simulated at-bats against rehabbing left-hander Jaime Garcia, as well as reserves Jake Westbrook and Sam Freeman, and came away feeling good about his chances for a return this week.
"I think I'll be ready," Craig said. "I'm going to give it my best shot. I feel good. I feel like I'm progressing in my rehab. If I had it my way, I'm going to be out there. That's what I'm anticipating. I wouldn't miss it for the world."
Of course, it won’t be that easy to shake the rust and flip the switch back on. Friday marked the first time he’s faced live pitching since suffering the injury on Sept. 4. He’s obviously worked hard just to have a chance to play after many believed his season was over, but he’ll have to show continued improvement before Wednesday in order to make the roster. That includes running the bases, and in the field in case of emergency.
Craig’s status will certainly be worth monitoring leading into Wednesday's Game 1, but there’s no doubt he’s anxious to get back on the field and join the fun.
"It's definitely not been easy to watch," Craig said. "It's been one of the hardest things in my career to not be able to finish out the season with these guys, because we have such a great group. It's been tough to watch. For them to continue to win and to give me a shot to play means a lot. It's not about me, but personally I'm really excited about it."
The Cardinals would be happy to have him back, too. In 84 postseason at-bats, he has 10 extra-base hits and 15 RBs. They could use the extra pop, but just having his presence to extend their lineup on the road wouldn't hurt, either.
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