JUPITER, Fla. -- With no restrictions related to the foot injury that cost him the final month of the regular season and two rounds of the postseason, Allen Craig arrived at Spring Training ready to get to work in the outfield.
Though right field is not an unfamiliar position for Craig, it is not the position at which he logged the majority of his playing time over the last two seasons. But with Carlos Beltran now in pinstripes and Matt Adams targeted for first base, Craig finds himself entering the season as an outfielder.
He prepared for the new assignment by incorporating more plyometrics work into his offseason plan. "Becoming a better athlete," Craig said, was the focus behind the priority in improving his movement.
"I'm always trying to get better, but I think sometimes when you have an injury, you have to start with the basics and get back to what it takes to become a good athlete and working harder to get to where you want to be," Craig said. "I feel like I'm better for it right now. ... It's made me work hard with my body and make sure I'm in shape and really getting back to the basics."
Craig will not abandon his first baseman's glove entirely. He wants to get some spring defensive work at the position, as do the Cardinals, who know Craig's defensive assignment could change depending upon the rest of the roster's makeup. The majority of work, however, will be concentrated in the outfield. He has made 129 career outfield starts, including 41 last season.
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.