By R.B. FALLSTROM
AP Sports Writer
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Cardinals are hoping first baseman Allen Craig will return in the postseason. It just won't be in the first round.
The Cardinals ruled Craig out for the first part of the playoffs on Friday. They're hoping his injured left foot will allow him to play at some point if the team makes a deep run.
"Understanding the severity of this injury, as optimistic as we were when it first happened, the reality is we have to take a very conservative approach," general manager John Mozeliak said before the Cardinals played the Cubs. "To try to rush him back or push him to get back would put him in peril."
Craig has been sidelined with a mid-foot sprain since early this month.
"It's not something you can play through," said Craig, who met with a specialist on Thursday. "Obviously, if that was the case I would be out there yesterday. If we get to the NLCS or World Series, you never know."
The announcement was not a huge surprise given Craig has not made significant progress and is still in a protective boot.
The injury is known as a Lisfranc fracture, in which bones are displaced by the sprain. He's been able to hit off a tee and throw, with minimal impact work.
"Frankly, the baseball world, we just don't see it that much," Mozeliak said.
The Cardinals were on the verge of wrapping up their first NL Central title, making a strong stretch run without the cleanup man, still among the league leaders with 97 RBIs despite missing his 21st game. . Craig's .459 average with runners in scoring position leads the majors.
Matt Adams has blossomed at first base since Craig was hurt rounding a base in Cincinnati on Sept. 4, with eight homers and 15 RBIs.
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