Allen Craig has passed whatever tests he needed to pass, because Cardinals manager Mike Matheny announced that the injured first baseman will be on the World Series roster after not playing since September 4 due to a foot injury.
Craig has been hitting for a while now, but the issue is whether his foot will allow him to run well enough to make a pinch-runner unnecessary. And it’s unclear if he’ll be more than a pinch-hitting option during the games in St. Louis without a designated hitter.
Either way, considering the weakness of the Cardinals’ bench getting Craig back at even a fraction of his healthy self will help. He hit .315 with 13 homers and an .830 OPS in 134 games during the regular season, including ridiculous numbers with runners in scoring position.
Matt Adams has hit .268 with one homer and a .724 OPS in 11 playoff games subbing for Craig at first base.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.