Optimistic Holliday takes BP, then pinch-hits

Optimistic Holliday takes BP, then pinch-hits

Optimistic Holliday takes BP, then pinch-hits
ST. LOUIS -- Following an examination that put his mind at ease, Matt Holliday took a couple of steps forward on the field on Tuesday. Holliday took batting practice outside for the first time in several days, and then pinch-hit in the Cardinals' 3-2 National League Division Series loss to the Phillies.

Holliday did not rule out the possibility that he could do more than pinch-hit before the series comes to an end. After the game, he said he felt quite a bit better than after his previous pinch-hit at-bat in Saturday's Game 1.

The outfielder has been battling tendinitis in his right hand since mid-September. He pinch-hit in Game 1 of the NLDS and did not appear in Game 2 before singling in the eighth inning of Game 3. Prior to the second game of the series, Holliday said he had only been swinging when he was about to come in a game, and not at all during pregame warmups. On Tuesday, he took his normal BP on the field at Busch Stadium with teammates.

"I feel better," Holliday said after swinging. "I had an MRI [on Monday], and it basically showed better inflammation."

Asked what his status would be for Game 4, Holliday still wasn't sure -- but he wasn't ruling anything out.

"I don't know," he said. "Just see how it goes tomorrow."

The Cards had feared that they might have to deactivate Holliday and remove him from their roster, but the tone of the club's comments about the left fielder has changed significantly in 48 hours.

"I think after all those studies yesterday, there was a sense of relief that it actually looks like it's improving," said general manager John Mozeliak. "I think from a mental standpoint, he feels better about it, and he doesn't feel like he's risking anything by trying."

And that last point may be the key one. Holliday acknowledged that the exam helped him be more willing to cut loose a little bit.

"They said I can't really hurt it worse," he said.