Craig to be re-evaluated Thursday, not expected to return soon

News-DemocratSeptember 10, 2013 

— St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig was cleared to begin light workouts Tuesday as he recovers from a sprained left foot.

Craig no longer is wearing a boot on the foot, which he injured while rounding first base Wednesday in Cincinnati.

"It's the same he's going to have here for a little while: He's going to continue to rehab," Cardinals manager Matheny said before his team's game against Milwaukee. "I did see him in the weightroom today doing a little bit more intense rehab. He seems to be progressing well, but still, no timetable or any better guesstimate on when he will be back."

Craig, who is three RBIs shy of 100, will be re-evaluated Thursday.

"I don't know the details of the timing on that," Matheny said of Craig's next appointment with the doctor. "It's going to be a little time, so the urgency of getting that re-evaluation probably isn't there. But the urgency to keep him progressing in the rehab process is, and he's doing a great job with it."

Matt Adams got the nod at first base Tuesday. He had been 4-for-18 (.222) with two home runs and two RBIs since Craig was injured. Both homers came in the game Craig was injured, a 5-4 victory in 16 innings over the Reds.

"It's nice to see my name (in the lineup), but we'd like to see Craig's name in there, too," Adams said. "We're hoping for a quick recovery for him and hope he gets back out there as soon as possible."

Adams is 11-for-35 (.314) with three homers and nine RBIs as a pinch-hitter, a role in which few enjoy success.

Getting consistent at-bats, Adams said, is "building that confidence."

"Being able to get your rhythm and timing to where it needs to be is nice, but we want to get 'Craiger' back as soon as possible," he said. "We miss him."

Matheny said the Cardinals are not using Adams' additional playing time as an audition for next season.

"Are we evaluating? All the time. We're all being evaluated every day," Matheny said. "But he's doing a nice job and we just need him to continue to do what Matt Adams can do --not be Allen Craig or Albert Pujols. He just needs to be Matt Adams."

Motte throws

Jason Motte on Monday took the first step in his recovery from Tommy John surgery,

"I made 20 throws into a net, from like 15 feet," Motte said. "Nothing really ground-breaking. Just baby steps. One day at a time. I'm actually throwing a baseball now instead of not, so it is a step closer."

Motte said he had no pain from the exercise when he woke up Tuesday. He will throw again Wednesday.

Lynn on deck

Lance Lynn is 0-5 with a 6.88 ERA in his last six starts but the Cardinals will turn to him again Wednesday against Milwaukee. Lynn is 13-10 with a 4.37 ERA overall.

"We saw good stuff (Thursday)," Matheny said of Lynn's 6-2 loss to Cincinnati. "Right now, this time of the year, people want to start thinking about, 'Is he tired? Has he been overused? What's the deal here?' I haven't seen that in (his) stuff. Stuff is normally the indicator. You can start to see when a guy gets tired. He's consistently all over the place and he doesn't have the life and the velocity.

"None of those have been the case (with Lynn). He's got the good stuff that hitters are having a tough time with. It's just replicating that."

Kozma back at short

Pete Kozma, who was 3-for-48 (.063), started all three games of the Pittsburgh series and was 4-for-8. Kozma was back in the lineup in the opener against Milwaukee, in part, Matheny said, because of a .275 average against the Brewers this season.

"Right now, he knows we've got to win games," Matheny said. "Is he going to be part of the formula? Is he going to be part of what makes sense to give us the best chance that night?"

Matheny said Daniel Descalso won't be shut out in the Cardinals' shortstop plans, no matter how much Kozma succeeds.

"I still see Daniel Descalso being a big part of what we're doing, moving forward," Matheny said. "We're going to have to be very conscious of how to keep him sharp and give him his opportunities."

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMWilhelm.

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