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Craig responds well at plate; defense still in question

Craig responds well at plate; defense still in question

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Craig responds well at plate; defense still in question

BOSTON -- Allen Craig did not hit cleanup in Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday, but he was back in the lineup after responding well to his first game test the night before.

Manager Mike Matheny dropped Craig into the six-hole in Game 2 and instead made Matt Adams his cleanup hitter. The switch was in response to the Red Sox sending right-hander John Lackey to the mound for the start. It marked the first time this season that Craig had batted lower than fifth.

Making his first start in seven weeks after recovering from a severe left foot sprain, Craig finished 1-for-4 on Wednesday. He did not have much opportunity to run the bases, but he said after the Cardinals' 8-1 loss that his body responded well following the extended layoff.

Added Matheny a day later: "I thought he took good at-bats, looked like he was seeing the ball pretty well, and didn't see a lot of apprehension. But he's still going to be guarded a little bit. But everything came out pretty good."

The rib injury to Carlos Beltran initiated another wave of questions on Thursday about Craig's potential readiness to play the field when the Series shifts to St. Louis. Craig has still not resumed defensive work, which lessens the likelihood of that possibility. Right now, the Cardinals are preparing to use him solely as a pinch-hitter in their home park.

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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