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Tuesday News & Notes: Allen Craig, Rafael Furcal, Live Batting Practice

Good Morning Cardinal Nation. Here’s what I have for you this morning:

CRAIG IS AN ELITE HITTER: Allen Craig has emerged as an elite hitter, as Joe Strauss writes this morning. In 2012, Craig batted .306 with 92 RBIs and 22 HRs. He was an incredibly integral part of the Cardinals’ lineup. I think Craig’s turning point in his career had to be game six of the 2011 World Series when he hit what seemed like a completely meaningless home run at the time to shorten the Texas Rangers’ lead from 7-5. You of course know what happened from there. After Lance Berkman fell to injury last year, the Cardinals needed someone to step up, and Craig did. He has consistently proven himself as an everyday first baseman and unless injuries start to pop up, I see no reason why he can’t continue his progress in 2013.

OZZIE WANTS TO ADVISE FURCAL: Ozzie Smith has been around camp the last couple of days and has said that he is interested in working with Rafael Furcal at shortstop. From the article:

Like Furcal, who has a torn ligament in his right elbow, Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith did not opt for surgery after the 1985 season. “I didn’t see that as a viable way to play,” said Smith. “I knew I could change and do a lot of different things.’’

Instead of surgery, Smith strengthened his shoulder and compensated as best he could, even shading more to the second base-side of the bag because he had a third baseman in Terry Pendleton who was excellent to his left.

Smith, who joined the Cardinals’ instructional staff Monday, said he didn’t know the specifics of Furcal’s previous elbow situation but would be happy to talk with him about easing the problem.

LAST ROUND OF PITCHERS GIVE BP: The final wave of pitchers today will throw live batting practice today, just a few days before the Grapefruit League begins. I’m looking forward to the games, but to be honest, my heart is set on Opening Day. The games have always been pretty meaningless to me, and they really don’t matter a whole lot after individual performances. Having said that, any form of baseball game after this boring winter will be welcome.

Lastly, here are some videos from Jupiter courtesy of STL Sports Page

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