Craig: I planned on being a Cardinal for longer

Craig: I planned on being a Cardinal for longer

Credit: Getty Images

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 22: Allen Craig #21 of the St. Louis Cardinals returns to the dugout after striking out in the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Busch Stadium on July 22, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rays beat the Cardinals 7-2. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

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by Elizabeth Eisele / BaseballStL | @elizabetheisele

KMOV.com

Posted on August 5, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 5 at 5:54 PM

(BaseballStL) – Allen Craig won’t play a single inning against the Cardinals this week, but he has ventured back into Busch Stadium only this time his gear sits in a locker in the visiting team’s clubhouse.

“It’s definitely a little strange. I spent a good number of years on the other side,” he said, “but it’s cool to be here too.”

Here is the Boston Red Sox, the team sitting in last place in the AL East. He’s only played one game with his new team and it will be awhile before he plays another. Craig was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday.

“It’s extremely disappointing,” Craig added, “I want to go out there and play ball. That’s what I do. That’s what I’m good at.”

An ankle injury has sidelined the former Redbird and that’s just one more thing to go wrong in Craig’s 2014 season.

No one expected Craig to replicate his .454 average and 83 RBI with runners in scoring position from 2013. However, no one expected him to fall quite so far, hitting .250 with runners in scoring position and an overall average of .237. He went from an offensive WAR of 3.0 in both the 2012 and 2013 seasons, to -0.5 in 2014.

“The business of baseball sometimes takes you directions you weren’t exactly expecting,” Craig said Tuesday, “Obviously it’s about producing. Everybody is aware of how this game works and I was aware of that, too. I planned on being here for longer.”

So, was an injury the cause of Craig’s decline in production this season?

“I never used an injury as an excuse,” he said, “I can honestly say I felt good and healthy this year. I think it’s a combination of things. Baseball is a tough game. I’ve been pretty good for most of my career. I struggled a little bit this year and I’m accountable for that. I’m just looking forward to moving on and playing good ball on a good team.”

But that won’t be who selected him in the eighth round of the 2006 draft. Or the team he made his MLB debut with in April 2010. Or the team he won his first World Series with in 2011.

“The toughest part was leaving the people behind,” Craig said, “I felt like I developed relationships that will last a lifetime. I’m going to stay in contact with everybody. When I sit back and think about where I’m at now, [Boston] is going to be a great place, too.”

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