JUPITER, Fla. Outfielder Allen Craig made his first appearance of the spring on the field with his teammates Monday morning, participating in stretching and agility drills prior to the Cardinals' workout on the back fields at Roger Dean Stadium.
Suiting up and taking the field is noteworthy for Craig, who has been limited to the weight room the past month as he recovers from November surgery to repair a fractured right kneecap.
Craig participated in some light jogging, the first time he's attempted to jog since the surgery. He made three or four jogs of about 90 feet, starting out slow and building up the speed as he got closer to the finish.
"Just starting off slow, didn't want to push it or anything," Craig said. "Just trying to keep up with everyone else. I don't think I stood out, I think I fit in, which was good.
"The trainers wouldn't put me in a situation I couldn't handle. They tested me out and we talked about it and I knew there would be a jog at the end and I did it and I felt really good. We'll see how I come back tomorrow and see how it feels and go from there."
Craig hit three home runs in the World Series and made a run-saving catch in Game 7 when he leaped to rob a home run in left field. And he did it all with a broken right kneecap.
The outfielder's surgery was delayed because of the World Series run and his subsequent wedding a few weeks later. But he's been at the Cardinals complex in Jupiter since the beginning of January and has continued to progress.
Craig is holding out hope of returning by Opening Day but whether or not that remains an option has yet to be determined yet.
"It's too far out to say," Craig said. "I think the plan could be adjusted depending on how I feel. It's all about how I feel. If I'm feeling great I'll go to the next step. If I'm not, then we'll just stay where we are at.
"I haven't had any days where I had a setback and or wasn't able to do the program. I'm feeling good. We collaborate on it. I talk to them and tell them how I feel. It's their program so I'm just following it and doing what we can."