Swollen thumb causes setback for Holliday

Swollen thumb causes setback for Holliday

ST. LOUIS -- Matt Holliday has hit another snag in his push to return for the final week of the regular season, as his surgically repaired right thumb is once again swollen and sore one day after testing it against live pitching.

That means the Cardinals will scrap plans to have Holliday go through the live batting practice simulation again on Sunday and instead wait to see what comes of the left fielder's scheduled visit with a hand specialist on Monday. If the specialist confirms that the thumb is structurally sound, then Holliday's return will be predicated primarily on pain tolerance.

"I think it was probably false expectation to think he was going to feel nothing and perfectly fine today," manager Mike Matheny said after the Cardinals' 10-4 win on Saturday. "I think it's smart, too, to give the doctor one more look and give him complete confidence that everything is still perfect."

Even if the specialist gives Holliday clearance to keep pushing, time is running short. The Cardinals have eight games remaining on their regular-season schedule and no guarantee of any others being added. The organization would like Holliday to go through at least one more live BP test before activating him from the disabled list.

Holliday has been sidelined since taking a pitch off his right thumb in an Aug. 11 game at Wrigley Field. He was advised at the time that having a screw implanted to stabilize the thumb would offer him the best chance of returning before the end of the year.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.