Craig takes grounders, could play first in St. Louis
Returning as DH in Boston after long layoff, run producer being eased back into field
ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals cleanup hitter Allen Craig took ground balls at first base Friday for the first time since spraining his left foot in early September, providing a sliver of hope that his duties could expand beyond pinch-hitting for Games 3-5 of the World Series at Busch Stadium.
Craig served as the Cards' designated hitter in Games 1 and 2 in Boston, when the teams played under American League rules. He had two hits, a walk and two strikeouts in seven at-bats, which were notably competitive considering his seven-week layoff.
Manager Mike Matheny struck a cautious tone after Craig's afternoon workout, saying Craig was "just beginning the movements" necessary to play in the field.
"We're not pushing this too hard and too fast," Matheny said. "We're very excited about what we're seeing with him at the plate, and that's the main thing. Obviously, having the ability to throw him into the DH spot in Boston was what we were hoping for, and he put together some good at-bats for us.
"Defensively, we'll take whatever we can get. Every day is another step. [On Saturday], we'll get him to take more ground balls and get him moving. He also has the potential to possibly play in the outfield, so we're giving him a little more work and exposure out there."
Craig's bat was a driving force of the Cardinals' 97-win regular season. He batted .315 with a .373 on-base percentage and 97 RBIs in 134 games, while hitting a Major League-best .454 in 130 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Matt Adams filled in at first base during Craig's departure and hit .315 with eight home runs in September, but the slugger has been limited to a .245 average and one home run in his first 13 postseason games. In the outfield, Craig could provide insurance for right fielder Carlos Beltran, who suffered bruised right ribs making a catch against the wall in Game 1, but was able to come back for Game 2, in which he went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
"Right now, we're not rushing it to where we feel we could put [Craig] in a spot to where he compromises his health, and [then] he goes backwards and we can't use him either as a pinch-hitter or potentially as a DH again," Matheny said.
Yadi, Wainwright among Gold Glove finalists
ST. LOUIS -- Batterymates Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright have been named finalists for the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, which will be presented on Tuesday during a 7 p.m. CT show on ESPN2.
The inclusion of Molina as one of three National League catcher finalists comes as no surprise, and he is a favorite to capture what would be his sixth consecutive Gold Glove. Molina should also challenge again for the Platinum Glove, given to the best defensive player at any position in each league. That award, which Molina has won each of the past two years, will be handed out on Nov. 8.
"I try to win this award," Molina said on Friday. "Every year is different and you try to do better than you did the year before."
His challengers this year are Pittsburgh's Russell Martin and Los Angeles' A.J. Ellis. Of those two NL catchers, Molina said: "They're good. It's going to be tough. Hopefully it goes my way."
Wainwright, a Gold Glove winner in 2009, joins Arizona's Patrick Corbin and Los Angeles' Zack Greinke as the finalists for pitchers. He was informed of his nomination on Friday morning by teammate Shane Robinson.
"It's a tremendous honor," Wainwright said. "Any type of award like that that you can win is just a resume chip. You can always look back and say you did it. The guys who are listed on that list with me, it's a very talented list. I'm glad to be a part of it."
Wainwright also took a moment to kid, seeing some irony in the fact that both he and Molina were named finalists for a defensive award two days after they let a popup drop between them in Game 1 of the World Series. Asked how a pitcher can help his own cause with his glove, Wainwright quipped: "You can catch little popups. That makes the game a lot easier."
The voting process for Gold Glove Awards was slightly altered this year. Since its inception in 1957, the Rawlings Gold Glove has relied solely on Major League managers and coaches votes to determine the best defensive players. Managers and coaches got an assist this year from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). For the first time, Rawlings collaborated with SABR to formally incorporate sabermetrics as a component of the Gold Glove Award.
A committee of experts in baseball analytics and defensive measurement devised the SABR Defensive Index (SDI), which draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball, location-based data and those collected by from play-by-play accounts.
The three metrics representing batted ball data include defensive runs saved (from Baseball Info Solutions), ultimate zone rating (developed by sabermetician Mitchel Lichtman) and runs effectively defended (created by SABR's Chris Dial).
The two metrics included in the SDI from play-by-play data are defensive regression analysis, created by committee member Michael Humphreys, and total zone rating.
The plan, according to Rawlings and SABR, is to have the SDI complement the judgement by the managers and coaches. The SABR Defensive Index will account for 30 total votes -- or approximately 25 percent -- of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award selection process, and will be added to the votes from the managers and coaches.
Ballots were distributed to managers and coaches in September, and they received a revamped statistical resource guide as well.
Cards get to deal with DH-less Red Sox lineup
ST. LOUIS -- As the World Series shifts to Busch Stadium, playing from the comforts of their home ballpark presents more than just a friendly crowd and a familiar setting for the Cardinals.
The change of venue also accompanies a change of rules, as the designated hitter vanishes in the National League park, forcing the Red Sox to move one of their better hitters -- either Mike Napoli or David Ortiz -- to the bench for Games 3, 4 and 5.
Boston manager John Farrell said that while in St. Louis, it is unlikely his club will field any starting lineup that features both.
"The one outside view might be to put Mike Napoli behind the plate, but we wouldn't do that," Farrell said. "One or the other is going to sit, unfortunately."
Farrell said Ortiz -- who is 4-for-6 with two homers, five RBIs and a walk in the series -- will start at first base in Game 3, with Napoli (who came up as a catcher with the Angels in 2006) coming off the bench. Napoli was 1-for-7 in Games 1 and 2, but replacing a middle-of-the-lineup hitter with a pitcher will nonetheless be a blow to the Red Sox's offense.
"Every single hitter in this lineup is very, very dangerous, from top to bottom," said Cards Game 3 starter Joe Kelly. "I don't know how well their pitchers hit, but you obviously can't take anybody lightly. So I wouldn't say I'm happy that one of them is not going to be in the lineup, but it definitely probably takes a little bit off their very, very powerful lineup, just power-wise."
Lynn gets Game 4 nod, with Waino set for Game 5
ST. LOUIS -- While prepared to turn to Adam Wainwright on short rest had the Cardinals been down 3-0 in the World Series, manager Mike Matheny said on Friday that he plans to start Lance Lynn in Game 4 on Sunday night (7 p.m. CT on FOX, 7:15 first pitch).
The game will not be an elimination game regardless of what happens in Game 3 on Saturday night (6:30 p.m. CT on FOX, 7:07 p.m. first pitch), and that ensures Wainwright of making a second start against the Red Sox. The ace will pitch Game 5 on the regular four days' rest, after allowing five runs (three earned) on six hits in five innings in Game 1 on Wednesday night.
For Lynn, the start will be his third this postseason. He was available in the Cards' bullpen during the two games in Boston, but wasn't needed. Lynn last pitched on Oct. 15, defeating the Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series while allowing two earned runs on six hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings.
This will be the first World Series start of Lynn's career; he appeared in five Fall Classic games as a reliever in 2011.
"We know that Lance has also been a guy that can pitch in big situations," Matheny said.
• The Cardinals reported to Busch Stadium on Friday afternoon and had the option of taking part in a short workout. Most of the pitchers threw on the outfield grass, and some of the position players took swings in the indoor batting cages. The Red Sox held a workout at the ballpark in the early evening.
• Matheny said that the Cards have no lingering concerns about Carlos Beltran's playability for the rest of the World Series. Beltran returned to the lineup on Thursday night after suffering a right rib contusion the night before.
"He looked pretty normal to me [Thursday]," Matheny said. "Not a lot of apprehension. I didn't see him wincing when he was taking swings, and [he was] moving pretty well in the outfield, good jumps."
• The Cardinals' win over Boston in Game 2 snapped the Red Sox's club-record nine-game winning streak in World Series games. That is tied for the fourth-longest winning streak in World Series history.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.