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Ready to DH, Craig being considered for cleanup

Ready to DH, Craig being considered for cleanup

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Ready to DH, Craig being considered for cleanup

ST. LOUIS -- After a second straight day of hitting off live pitching, Allen Craig again expressed no reservations about his readiness to serve as the Cardinals' designated hitter when the World Series opens in Boston on Wednesday (6:30 p.m. CT on FOX, with first pitch scheduled for 7).

Facing lefties Jaime Garcia and Sam Freeman, Craig took eight to 10 simulated at-bats before the Cardinals held a one-hour workout at Busch Stadium on Monday. Craig made solid contact several times and pushed himself through more mobility work as he nears the end of his recovery from a September foot injury.

"I felt good," Craig said afterward. "That's kind of what I'm focusing on right now, taking good at-bats. It feels good to get out there and compete against pitchers, even though they're guys on our own team. It's fun to take some serious at-bats."

The Cardinals intend to have Craig in their World Series lineup as a DH for the first two games. The only question now is where he'll fit in the batting order. He became manager Mike Matheny's regular cleanup hitter this season, moving around only briefly when Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday slumped.

Yadier Molina and Matt Adams have split time in the four-hole this postseason, depending upon the opposing starter. Asked if Craig, after his seven-week layoff, will slide back into the cleanup spot for the World Series, Matheny chose not to commit.

"I picture that he could do that," Matheny said. "Now whether that's exactly what we're going to do, obviously we go through it all. The way he's looking right now, if he's able to be active, there's no reason why he couldn't be back in that spot. But there's no reason he has to, either. There are other guys who can fill that role."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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