Craig's work to break early slump paying off

Craig's work to break early slump paying off

ST LOUIS -- The Cardinals' Allen Craig looked for solutions in every possible way, trying to find the swing that made him an All-Star last season.

It took Craig until the final game of April to surpass the .200 mark with his batting average for the first time, and even then, things weren't quite right.

His recent stretch suggests he may have found it.

"That's the guy we know," manager Mike Matheny said. "He just keeps working; that's all he can do. I still stand behind that we'll sit back and look and all of a sudden Allen's right where Allen always is."

Entering Friday, Craig had collected hits in eight of the last nine games, hitting .417 (15-for-36) while watching his batting average climb 35 points to .255.

Last season, Craig hit .315 with 13 home runs and 97 RBIs. Work remains for him to reach those numbers, but his recent stretch has him headed back in the right direction.

"When you start a season and it carries for a long time, you try everything," Matheny said. "He's been working hard and I think he's been seeing the benefits of the work, because he looks good.

"Now he's just going to have to work hard to keep it."

Alex Halstedis an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.