ANAHEIM -- Matt Holliday described himself as improved over the past 24 hours, but a pinched nerve in his neck kept the left fielder out of the starting lineup for a second straight game on Wednesday.
Upon arriving at Angel Stadium, Holliday alerted the Cardinals' medical staff that he was still bothered by some neck stiffness. He did not take on-field batting practice with his teammates but was carrying a bat around as he walked through the bowels of the stadium about an hour before first pitch. Holliday said he was considering taking some swings in the indoor cages to see if he'd be available off the bench.
Though Holliday has dealt with neck/back stiffness before -- most recently late last season after sleeping uncomfortably in a Chicago hotel -- he said this is the first time he has had this type of issue with a pinched nerve.
Holliday's improvement has the Cardinals hopeful that this setback will not require a stint on the disabled list.
"They're going to continue to work on him and treat him," manager Mike Matheny said. "Hopefully tomorrow he's a step closer, if not able to be in there. Right now, as much as he improved from yesterday, it seems like things are moving in the right direction."
With Holliday out of the lineup, Allen Craig made his third straight start in left field, and David Freese remained in the designated-hitter spot.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.