Matheny not convinced Craig at 100 percent

Matheny not convinced Craig at 100 percent

Matheny not convinced Craig at 100 percent
ST. LOUIS -- While Cardinals first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig said on Tuesday after a 6-1 loss to the White Sox that he feels 100 percent healthy, manager Mike Matheny senses otherwise.

Matheny said the club knew Craig was not completely healthy when Craig returned from the DL on June 1 after being deactivated with a strained hamstring on May 16. Craig also began the season on the disabled list after undergoing surgery on a fractured right kneecap. He was activated on May 1 after missing 22 games.

Matheny said ideally he would've liked to have given Craig more time to recover and more treatment if the rest of his team was healthy, but the club needed the utility man back in the lineup.

"He's done the things that we've asked him to do, which is produce offensively and he's played good defense, too," Matheny said. "We were cautious with his running. It seemed like he was close enough without being 100 percent running that everything else was right. We knew that going in. But now we just need to be proactive with our medical staff to figure out how to get him over that hump."

Craig is batting .325 with two doubles, two homers and seven RBIs since returning from his second stint on the DL. He went 2-for-4 with a double and the lone RBI on Tuesday, but his range of mobility does still appear to be in question.

Craig was held up at third on a second-inning single up the middle by Tyler Greene on Tuesday. The ball dropped in over White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham and rolled into shallow center giving Craig an opportunity to score.

"I don't know. I had my back to the play," Craig said when asked if he thought he could've beat the throw home. "Off the bat, I thought it was gonna fall so I just went, and [Beckham] got to it pretty quick. [Third-base coach Jose Oquendo] has the eyes on that one. I don't know if I would have made it or not."

Matheny said he didn't blame Oquendo for holding up Craig on the play, despite Craig getting a good jump off the bat.

"We have to continue to try and get him closer to 100 percent because it's happened a couple times now on balls that we'd really like to see him push it a little bit, but he's still a little hesitant with his leg," Matheny said. "But I understand Oquendo was right there. You see a guy who had was burnt already once trying to stretch it a little bit, you're going to be very tentative."

Craig was ultimately stranded at third after Shane Robinson grounded in to an inning-ending double play.

While Matheny is certainly glad to have Craig's bat back in the lineup, Craig would be more of an asset if he was able to run without any hesitation.

"Every aspect of the game ends up costing you right now if you don't have it," Matheny said. "And even a little bit more speed, there's a couple instances that we've had that it would have resulted in a run. And runs are hard to come by right now."