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'Winging it with preparation,' Allen Craig hints at playing first base

By Scott Miller | Senior Baseball Columnist

ST. LOUIS -- Hitter extraordinaire Allen Craig dropped his biggest hint yet that he's going to try to play first base for the Cardinals in Game 5 on Monday night.

But watching him gimp down to first base for a single that bounced off of the right-field fence in Boston's 4-2 takedown of St. Louis in Game 4 ... and watching him limp barefoot across the Cardinals clubhouse later Sunday night ... there is a giant, one-word obstacle.

How?

"We're going to see," Craig replied when someone asked whether he would try and talk his way into the lineup at first base. "I feel OK."

OK is a relative term, and it isn't exactly close to a Tony the Tiger-like "I feel grrreat" on the optimism meter.

But while going nowhere near making a commitment, Craig also made sure to keep the intrigue open.

"We're going to do everything we can," Craig said of the idea of starting at first base. "I have to see how I feel."

That's not hard to answer, in one sense. Craig feels hitterish. He always feels hitterish. With another single Sunday, he's hitting .444 in this World Series (4 for 9).

Craig, who had 97 RBIs this year, had been out with stretched ligaments in his left foot from early September through the World Series. After serving as the St. Louis designated hitter in Games 1 and 2 in Boston, he has been relegated to pinch-hitter status in Games 3 and 4.

He appeared to aggravate his injury in the crazy obstruction play that ended Game 3.

"It's a little sore," he said. "But, obviously, I felt I could contribute."

As he says, "running is the main thing" that gives him trouble. Which, is difficult to avoid on a baseball field -- though maybe with the right treatment Monday, he could get to a point where he could stand long enough to play first base.

Seems problematical but, as he said, "we're going to do everything we can."

Asked to elaborate on that, Craig said, "I can't say what I'm going to do tomorrow. We're winging it with preparation.

"We're going to see how it goes."

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