ANAHEIM -- After nursing a stiff neck for two days, outfielder Matt Holliday was cleared to return to the Cardinals' lineup for Thursday's series finale against the Angels.
Though Holliday was not available even in a pinch-hit role on Wednesday, the treatment he received throughout the day helped alleviate much of the discomfort related to a pinched nerve in his neck. He arrived at Angel Stadium early Thursday afternoon and was cleared to play after taking swings in the indoor batting cage.
"It was a good opportunity to sit and wait," manager Mike Matheny said of the team's cautious approach earlier this week. "And I'm glad we did, because he's good to go."
The opportunity to plug Holliday in as the club's designated hitter -- and therefore not force him to endure any strain in the field -- also expedited his return. Thursday marked the final time this regular season that the Cardinals will employ a DH. In the 10 games the Cardinals played at American League ballparks, Holliday served as a DH a team-high four times.
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.