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Craig building up defensive work in event of start

Craig building up defensive work in event of start

Craig building up defensive work in event of start

ST. LOUIS -- About two hours before the Cardinals took the field for batting practice on Saturday, Allen Craig stood near first base, fielding a succession of ground balls hit by third-base coach Jose Oquendo. It was an increased amount of defensive work for Craig, who is trying to quickly prepare himself for the possibility of playing the field during the World Series.

Craig did not start in Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday, as the Cards stuck with Matt Adams at first base against right-hander Jake Peavy. Before the game, however, manager Mike Matheny said that Craig has done enough defensive work that he would be comfortable leaving Craig in the game to play the field after using him as a pinch-hitter.

Both first base and the outfield would be viable options, Matheny added, even though Craig has not yet resumed outfield work since recovering from a left foot injury.

Craig plans to continue the defensive work on Sunday and Monday. If the Cardinals are going to be aggressive in getting him into the lineup, it likely would be in Game 5, when the Red Sox next send a left-handed starter to the mound.

"That's a thought," Matheny said. "But we're not going to put him in a situation we're not prepared for. I think we all get it that you have to push and do whatever you can this time of year, but if he hasn't been doing the work … [and] is just out there to grind through it, is that really doing us a benefit?

"We have his bat off the bench. We have the ability to bring him in if we need to. But we'll just see how the next couple of days go."

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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