Allen Craig

John Farrell: Hanley Ramirez injury a chance for Allen Craig to 'gain a little rhythm'

May 05, 2015 - 1:17 pm
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With Hanley Ramirez out of the lineup and listed as day-to-day after injuring his shoulder while running into the wall to make a catch Monday night, Allen Craig will get the start in left field and bat sixth on Tuesday night. In his pregame press conference on Tuesday, manager John Farrell said that Ramirez is still being evaluated, but if he is to miss a significant amount of time, Craig would likely be one of the first in line for extra at-bats. Craig has struggled at the plate so far this season. In 45 plate appearances, he is hitting just .146 with a home run as his only extra-base hit, two RBIs, three walks and 12 strikeouts. Farrell hopes that a potential increase in playing time will serve Craig well. "Any time you lose one player, it's going to provide opportunity," Farrell said. "Allen's back in the lineup tonight in left field tonight with [Rays pitcher Drew] Smyly the left-hander on the mound. So any player that's been a starting player in the past, this is an opportunity to hopefully gain a little rhythm." After his All-Star season in 2013, when Craig hit .315 with 13 home runs and 97 RBIs in St. Louis, the 30-year-old's numbers have dipped. In 126 games last year split between the Cardinals and Red Sox, he hit .215 with eight home runs and 46 RBIs. His OBP dropped from .373 to .279 from 2013 to 2014. This season, his OBP is just .222. Craig suffered a foot injury late in 2013, which may have contributed to his unimpressive numbers since then. "I think last year, you can directly point to the foot as being a reason why [he struggled]," Farrell said. "... He wasn't able to maybe reproduce his natural normal swing. He wasn't hitting from a strong base that he had been accustomed to. I thought in Spring Training he started to show the player he's been with some consistent at bats. And then you go into a reserve role, that's a tough thing for a position to player to maintain timing." As long as Ramirez is out, the Red Sox will be missing one of their best offensive weapons, but Farrell hopes that Craig and the rest of the Red Sox lineup don't try to do too much to fill his shoes. "I think the one thing that we want to be sure of is that because of Hanley's absense, no one thinks they've got to be Hanley," Farrell said. "Perform to the best of their ability, everyone do their job, and collectively, that should make up for the difference there."