Allen Craig felt “pretty good” in return, but unlikely to fill in for Carlos Beltran in outfield

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Not much went right for the Cardinals in Game 1 last night, but one bit of positive news is that Allen Craig had no problems with his foot while playing for the first time since September 4.

Craig went 1-for-4 with a single as the designated hitter and cleanup man, saying afterward: “I felt good to be out there.”

Because of his foot injury Craig was expected to exclusively play designated hitter in the games at Fenway Park and then likely serve as a pinch-hitter in the games at Busch Stadium, but if Carlos Beltran is forced to sit with a rib injury the Cardinals could certainly use Craig in right field.

He has plenty of experience there, but Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com writes that “he hasn’t done much in the field while preparing for a return and it’s iffy whether he’ll be able to play defense when the series shifts to St. Louis.”

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.