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Craig proves he is healthy (enough), added to Game 5 lineup

After initially penciling Adams into the Cards' Game 5 lineup, Matheny switches to Craig

ST. LOUIS -- When Allen Craig hobbled to first base after delivering a pinch-hit single Sunday night, Craig didn't look like he would be ready to play the field the next day.


The Cardinals didn't think so, either, until sometime late Monday afternoon. After putting out a lineup with Matt Adams playing first base early Monday afternoon, the Cardinals put out a new one that had Craig playing first base and batting sixth less than three hours before first pitch.

 

Even after Sunday night's game, when Craig noticeably limped to the batter's box and turned a double into a single because he could not run hard, he said there was a chance he would play the field in the World Series.


"I've said it a million times. I've just got to show up tomorrow and see how it feels and go from there," Craig said Sunday night. "I don't know how I'll feel. I'm going to do what I normally do to get ready."


After taking grounders at first base before batting practice Monday, Craig's ailing left foot must have felt strong enough for him to persuade manager Mike Matheny to put him in the lineup.


Lest we forget, Craig hit three home runs in the 2011 World Series while playing with a broken bone in his kneecap. And considered it no big deal.


"I don't like to play the hero card," he said after the 2011 World Series. "It was sore and it got real stiff and it was something that forced me to take extra time to warm up. But it was more annoyance. I was to the point where I wasn't risking further injury. I was playing well and wasn't hurting the team, so I just kept playing."


Though he missed seven weeks with the Lisfranc injury, Craig did not need much time to find his swing. He is 4 for 9 in the Series and scored the winning run on an obstruction call in Game 3.


Putting him in the lineup ahead of lefty-hitting Matt Adams should give the Cardinals a lift against Red Sox lefty Jon Lester, who worked 7 2/3 shutout innings in a 8-1 victory in Game 1.


You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at stanmcneal@gmail.com.