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Red Sox saw ‘no red flags’ in deal for Allen Craig

08.06.14 at 9:03 pm ET
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The coincidence seemed hard to dismiss.

Newly acquired Red Sox outfielder/first baseman Allen Craig landed on the disabled list for an ankle injury incurred in his first game with his new team. Given that he was hobbled by a Lisfranc fracture in the same foot last year, and that one of the most consistent hitters in the National League over the last few years (.312/.364/.500 from 2011-13) is amidst a career-worst season (.237/.291/.348) that diverges drastically from career norms, it has become natural to wonder whether his foot injury truly healed last year — and if not, whether the Red Sox either got sold a bill of goods at the trade deadline or if they overlooked significant medical risks with Craig.

But GM Ben Cherington, speaking to reporters in St. Louis, said that while the team is taking a cautious approach to Craig’s current injury (including putting him on the DL and having him see the same foot specialist (Dr. Robert Anderson) who treated his foot last year), the Sox do not believe there is long-term concern for Craig’s health.

“The long-term prognosis is very good. There’s no concern about whether he’s going to be OK to play and feel good and be completely healthy. It’s just a question of making sure that we’re not putting him in a position where he’s compromised and maybe is at risk of doing something else by making up for what’s going on in his foot,” Cherington told reporters. “I think part of the reason it was managed conservatively last year (when St. Louis shut down Craig for the final weeks of the season when they were running away with their division) is because of where the Cardinals were, and based on where we are now, this is obviously a long-term proposition. We acquired him for a long time. We just want to make sure we get it right.”

As for whether there was any indication of significant injury risk when the Sox examined Craig’s medical file before making the deal that sent John Lackey and minor leaguer Corey Littrell to the Cards in exchange for Craig and Joe Kelly, Cherington said that the team emerged satisfied with Craig’s health outlook.

“No red flags in the long-term. We had access to everything, and obviously he’s had stuff, as you guys know. We didn’t have any concern about whether this was a long-term risk, and he had obviously played through October and then played a lot this year on it,” Cherington told reporters. “He hit the bag awkwardly, felt soreness. Unfortunately it happened the way it happened. It was the first game he played for us. And because of what he’s been through, we just want to be sure that we’ve got this thing taken care of in the right way so he can move forward. Whenever he starts playing again, we can all be sure that he’s in good shape.”

While Craig landed on the disabled list on Tuesday (retroactive to Saturday), the team doesn’t plan to shut him down for the rest of the year.

“We’re not at that point by any means,” Cherington told reporters. “He feels good. He doesn’t feel like he’s that far away from playing. But we’re just going to try to be methodical on this one, because he’s new to the organization, because we’re managing a new case, and because there’s a lot of information to digest. We just want to go through all of that before we make a decision on when he’s going to play again.”

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