With no games other than the ones they’re playing to get Allen Craig ready to rejoin the team when healthy the Cardinals plan to invent a way for the cleanup hitter to get rehab at-bats at game speed.

Craig took part in batting practice for the second consecutive day Monday hours before Game 3 of the National League championship series. He will advance to more intensive running today and if he continues to be able to push his injured left foot without pain could be cleared for simulated games. The Cardinals will use a pitching machine or available pitchers like Tyler Lyons and Sam Freeman to get Craig’s swing game-ready.

“What he needs to do is repeat swings and do it without pain” hitting coach John Mabry said. “He’s just getting back from these injuries. First he wants to get his base under him. He’s got to make sure that at this speed it doesn’t hurt. If nothing hurts at this speed then you bump it up a notch. Once you get to the next notch then you make a decision whether he’s game-ready or not. You don’t have anywhere (in the organization) to get him game-speed.

“So we have to simulate game-speed.”

During the season a player like Craig would visit a minor-league club for a rehab assignment. A few weeks ago Craig could have reported to Jupiter Fla. and participated in instructional league games. Neither is available this late in October.

Craig injured the ligaments in his left foot in the first week of September. Last week Craig was cleared to be more aggressive in his rehab.

The Cardinals are trying to get him ready to join the team as a potential designated hitter should they advance to the World Series. He would also be a pinch-hit option off the bench at Busch Stadium.

After two days of batting practice Craig said that he felt good and had limited discomfort when swinging the bat. He said the simulated games are in his future but they don’t have a day marked for them. He has to pass running tests today before advancing.

Asked if Craig who led the team with 97 RBIs was healthy enough to join the NLCS roster in the event of an injury to another player – teams are allowed now to DL players in the postseason – manager Mike Matheny said no the cleanup hitter was not medically cleared for that yet.

He likened Craig to Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera (oblique) and Dodgers’ shortstop Hanley Ramirez (fractured rib) – both of whom are playing through pain.

“That hasn’t been the timing of it” Matheny said. “Once he gets to that point he goes as tolerated. They’re not worried about him hurting himself any more but he’s going to go as much as he can. … Is he going to be 100 percent? I don’t know the answer to that. Maybe not. We want him to be able to get in there and take a pinch-hit at-bat and if we’re fortunate enough to get there be able to DH.”