ST. LOUIS — Thought to possibly be done for the season, outfielder Matt Holliday will instead likely be back in the Cardinals’ starting lineup Saturday afternoon against the Chicago Cubs.
Holliday, out since suffering an inflamed tendon on his right middle finger while taking a swing in the on deck circle Sept. 13, took a full round of batting practice before Friday night’s game at Busch Stadium and said he would likely be available to pinch-hit.
Asked what he needed to accomplish during Friday’s session, Holliday said, “Just that if I can take my normal swing so if I get out there I don’t have to think about it.”
The slugger apparently was able to take his full swing, hitting a number of home runs before declaring to reporters, “I’m going to play tomorrow.”
Getting a healthy Holliday back in the lineup would be a big boost for the Cardinals in their final five games. They entered Friday’s game trailing the Atlanta Braves by two games in the National League Wild Card race with six to play.
Holliday has dealt with a number of injuries this season, starting with an emergency appendectomy that cost his seven games during the first week of the season. He has also spent time on the disabled lsit for a strained left quad, missed two games after tweaking his back lifting weights and had to leave early on Aug. 22 when a moth got stuck in his ear.
The five-time All-Star is hitting .295 with 22 home runs and 74 RBIs in 120 games this season but was hitting just .227 in his past 29 games before injuring his finger.
Allen Craig filled in admirably in place of Holliday, going 8 for 21 with three home runs and six RBIs in his past five games. Skip Schumaker started in left field Friday night.