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Furcal, Craig get at-bats as designated hitters


JUPITER, Fla. -- Manager Mike Matheny utilized the designated-hitter spot on Sunday to find at-bats for Rafael Furcal and Allen Craig, both of whom, to varying degrees, are limited in their availability.

With left-hander Jon Lester starting for the Red Sox, Matheny saw an opportunity to get Furcal an at-bat from the right side. Furcal's ailing right elbow has hindered him from throwing and hitting left-handed, but he has continued to take swings right-handed while getting treatment.

Fortunate for Furcal, too, was that his spot at the top of the order came around a second time with left-hander Andrew Miller on the mound. That allowed the shortstop to get a second plate appearance. He went 0-for-2.

The third time the Cardinals' lineup turned over, Craig hit in the DH spot. He delivered an RBI single to center in his first Grapefruit League at-bat. He grounded out his next time up.

Craig's situation is nowhere near as tenuous as Furcal's, but the Cardinals have opted to take Craig along a little slower than usual after the first baseman alerted the club to some soreness in his right shoulder.

"I'm fine," Craig said after the game. "We're just taking it real slow. We have a long spring, a long season. If you have even a little something barking, we're going to take it slow. It just felt good to get out there and play a little bit."

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