Cards hope to have Holliday back by weekend

Cards hope to have Holliday back by weekend

ST. LOUIS -- The return date for Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday is still up in the air, but there is optimism that he is closer to returning from an injured right hand than the team previously thought.

"I would say over the last 48 hours we are a little more optimistic, but still not to the point where we know when he is going to be in a game," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said prior to Tuesday's game.

Holliday developed inflammation of a tendon in his right middle finger during a game in Pittsburgh last Tuesday. He felt the pain in his hand while in the on-deck circle late in a 6-4 victory.

Mozeliak said he did not specifically know how the injury occurred, but said there has been a reduction in the swelling.

"I think the easiest way to think about him right now is it is sort of a day-to-day progression," Mozeliak said. "So he's been cleared to swing a bat off a tee, and then tomorrow hopefully he can do a little more, and so on. So I think as far as having him available in the next couple of days, I think that is unlikely, but we're hopeful for the weekend."

The Cardinals would love to get their left fielder back in the lineup as soon as possible. In 120 games this season, Holliday is hitting .295 with 35 doubles, 22 home runs, 74 RBIs, 82 runs scored, a .388 on-base percentage and a .528 slugging percentage.

"He was going to try some stuff today, with a pad, but we don't expect him to be ready this series," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. "We'd be surprised if he was."