A foot injury prevented Allen Craig from hitting the ground running with the Boston Red Sox. The outfielder/first baseman offered a glimpse Tuesday of what he’s all about.
Craig, who was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals at the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline, hit his first home run in a Red Sox uniform as Boston defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 11-7 in 11 innings at Rogers Centre. His two-run blast capped a seven-run explosion by the Red Sox and showed off his opposite-field pop.
“It felt great to hit the first home run in the uniform and really contribute to a big win and a big inning that we really needed,” Craig said after the game. “It felt really good.”
Mike Napoli gave the Red Sox a commanding 9-4 lead with a mammoth three-run homer two batters before Craig went deep. The Sox certainly benefited from the extra breathing room, as Heath Hembree surrendered three runs in the bottom of the 11th inning before finally nailing down Boston’s second straight extra-inning win.
“I think that when you put that many good hitters in a lineup, when things are going good, everyone feeds off each other,” Craig said. “Obviously, it takes time to get to know everybody and what everyone likes to do, but it’s exciting. It’s exciting to be a part of.”
Craig has had a down season to this point. He hit just .237 with seven homers, 44 RBIs and a .638 OPS in 97 games with the Cardinals before being acquired along with pitcher Joe Kelly in exchange for pitcher John Lackey and minor league hurler Corey Littrell. The 30-year-old is one year removed from an All-Star campaign in which he posted an .830 OPS and drove in a career-high 97 runs, though, so the Red Sox obviously hope he’ll become a key cog in a much-improved offense in 2015.
“I think that I’ve done a good job the last few years of driving in guys when guys are on base,” Craig said. “I think there’s a lot of on-base guys on this team — guys that see a lot of pitches and get on base. In the short term here, I’m just looking to fit in with the team and do my part. But I think that it’s an exciting thing to be a part of.”
Craig, who has a history of foot and ankle issues, injured his foot while crossing first base awkwardly in his first game with the Red Sox on Aug. 1. The ailment forced Craig to the disabled list, but he’s now back and ready to make up for lost time.
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