Tag:Matt Holliday
Posted on: October 28, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 7:50 pm

Cruz, Napoli in Rangers' Game 7 lineup

ST. LOUIS -- Mike Napoli is hurting. Nelson Cruz is hurting.

But it's Game 7.

It's Game 7 of the World Series, and both Napoli (left ankle) and Cruz (right groin) are in the Rangers' lineup for Friday night's game at Busch Stadium. Both were regarded as questionable after getting hurt in Thursday's incredible Game 6.

Napoli, in line for World Series MVP honors if the Rangers win, hurt his ankle when he went into second base awkwardly in the fourth inning Thursday. He stayed in the game, but said afterwards that the ankle was "pretty sore."

"He showed the type of warrior he is," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "If you hadn't seen him hurt the ankle, you wouldn't have even known it was hurt."

Cruz left the game after batting in the top of the 11th inning. The Rangers believe he got hurt banging into the wall trying to catch David Freese's game-tying triple in the ninth inning.

Cruz was in more doubt Friday, but the Rangers decided after batting practice that he was good enough to go. The Rangers didn't seriously consider removing him from the World Series roster, in part because they thought that at the very least he could give them a pinch-hit at-bat.

While Napoli and Cruz are in the lineup, Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday is out. Holliday severely injured his right pinky when he was picked off third base in the sixth inning. The Cardinals replaced him on the roster with Adron Chambers, and Allen Craig replaced him in the Cardinals lineup for Game 7.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa made another lineup change, dropping Rafael Furcal out of the leadoff spot for the first time this postseason, and putting Ryan Theriot atop the order.

Furcal sparked the Cardinals for a while, and his first-inning triple was the biggest hit in their 1-0 Game 5 Division Series win over the Phillies. But in his last 11 games, Furcal has hit just .128 (6-for-47) with a .196 on-base percentage.

Full lineups for both teams are in Matt Snyder's excellent Game 7 preview, available here.

Posted on: October 5, 2011 3:19 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 4:57 pm

Holliday in Cardinals Game 4 lineup

ST. LOUIS -- Matt Holliday has made it back into Tony La Russa's Cardinals lineup for Game 4.

La Russa said Wednesday afternoon that he actually made out two Game 4 lineups, one with Holliday and one without him. He said a decision on whether Holliday plays would come after Holliday takes batting practice and tries to throw before the 8:07 ET game, which the Cardinals must win to keep their season alive.

But Holliday said after batting practice he intends to play. "I'm good enough," said Holliday. "I can help the team in some way. That's all I'm hoping to do."

Holliday hurt his right middle finger on Sept. 13 in Pittsburgh, and he has played sparingly since then. He has just two at-bats in the series with the Phillies, and the Cardinals even considered replacing him on the roster.

Category: MLB
Posted on: October 4, 2011 5:48 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 8:08 pm

Holliday pinch hits, could return to Cards lineup

ST. LOUIS -- When Matt Holliday is healthy, the Cardinals may have the best 3-4-5 combination in baseball.

The Cardinals now have some hope that they'll have it again before this postseason ends.

After a favorable checkup on his troublesome finger on Monday, and an encouraging batting practice session Tuesday afternoon, Holliday pinch hit for the Cardinals in Tuesday night's Game 3, and delivered a single. Two days after the Cardinals considered replacing him on the playoff roster, there's now hope that Holliday could even return to his regular spot in the lineup.

"It feels pretty good," Holliday said before Game 3.

In that regular Cardinals lineup, Holliday hits between Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman, both of whom should finish high in this year's National League MVP voting. Holliday was limited to 124 games because of various injuries, but he still hit .296 with 22 home runs and 75 RBI.

In Holliday's checkup Monday, doctors considered giving Holliday an injection, but decided against it. They also told him that the injury won't get worse if he plays with it, so that the main issues are pain-tolerance and how effective he can be.

Holliday said he still hasn't tested the finger by trying to throw, but he also said he thinks the bigger question was how much it would bother him when he hit.

The answer he gave after batting practice Tuesday is that he is again available to pinch hit. And that he could be available for even more.

Posted on: June 20, 2011 2:25 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 2:49 pm

The NL Central has become injury central

I'm guessing Jonny Gomes won't be dancing around or singing. I'm guessing Ryan Braun won't be, either.

But when I talked to one Reds person a few minutes after we found out that Albert Pujols will miss the next month with a broken wrist, his reaction was exactly what you'd expect.

"You hate to see anyone get hurt," he said. "But this is great news for us."

Pujols' injury is horrible news for the Cardinals, and bad news for baseball in general -- no Pujols in the All-Star Game, for one thing -- but it's great news for the Reds and for the Brewers . . . if they can stay healthy themselves.

Seriously, has any division race in baseball been as dominated by injuries this year as the National League Central?

The Cardinals have been without Adam Wainwright all year, without Matt Holliday for two tough stretches, without other lesser-known but key pieces like David Freese and Nick Punto, and now without Albert.

The Reds were without two of their five starters (Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey) for the first month of the season, and now they're without Bailey again. Key reliever Aroldis Chapman has spent the last month on the DL, as well, although his injury is much less serious than his continuing control problems. And Scott Rolen has already been on the DL once, and plays with significant enough pain that he's always a threat to go back there.

The Brewers missed Zack Greinke for the first month, and Corey Hart and Jonathan Lucroy for most of the first month. And Shaun Marcum left his last start early with a hip problem. And key reliever Takashi Saito appeared in just two games before going on the DL, where he remains.

Every year in spring training, someone reminds us that it's often not the best team that wins, but the healthiest. Every year, some very talented team doesn't make the playoffs, and injuries are one of the biggest reasons (2010 Red Sox).

But what happens when an entire division gets hurt?

We'll see this year, in the NL Central.


As it turns out, C. Trent Rosecrans of our Eye on Baseball team was in the Reds clubhouse Sunday when Pujols was hurt, and he can confirm that neither Gomes nor any of the other Reds were singing about it.

"The only thing I heard was someone talking about being upset that he was hurt," Rosecrans said.

You might remember the minor stir in spring training, when Gomes was reported to be happily singing about Wainwright's injury (a report that Gomes stridently denied).
Posted on: June 13, 2011 12:41 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 8:10 pm

Holliday ranks top in big week for returns

Sunday night, after the Giants activated Pablo Sandoval from the disabled list, I asked on Twitter which of the five big-name players coming off the DL this week would have the biggest impact on the pennant race.

One problem: I missed two of them.

There aren't five big-name players that could come off the DL this week. There are seven.

Seven players who have combined for 17 All-Star appearances, six batting titles, one MVP and two runners-up, four Gold Gloves and 15 Silver Sluggers.

And I didn't even include Jason Heyward, who began a rehabilitation assignment with the Braves' Triple-A Gwinnett team, and could be activated as soon as Wednesday.

Anyway, I'll ask the question again: Which one will have the biggest impact on the pennant race?

And I'll try to answer it:

1. Matt Holliday, Cardinals, left quadriceps, last played May 31, could return Thursday. When Holliday missed seven early-season games with appendicitis, the Cardinals scored just 18 runs and went 2-5. He's missed the last 11 games, and they've scored 49 runs and gone 5-6. They're a first-place team that scores plenty of runs when he plays, a sub-.500 team that struggles to score when he doesn't. Fortunately for the Cardinals, it looks reasonably certain that this Holliday absence won't last much longer.

2. Travis Hafner, Indians, right oblique, last played May 17, could return late this week. Even with Hafner, the Indians may not be good enough to hold on in the American League Central race. But it's clear that without him, they've got no chance. The numbers are skewed a little by the strong pitching Cleveland has faced since Hafner went out, but it's still stunning to see that they were shut out just once with him in the lineup -- and six times in the 24 games he has missed. The Indians were hitting .271 as a team when Hafner got hurt. They've hit .224 as a team (with a .289 on-base percentage and a .346 slugging percentage) without him. The Indians will go as far as their talented young hitters can take them, but those young hitters are hurting without Hafner's presence in the lineup. Hafner is due to begin a rehabilitation assignment Tuesday at Double-A Akron. The Indians have told him they'd like him to stay there three or four days.

3. Joe Mauer, Twins, bilateral leg weakness, last played April 12, could return Thursday. If the Twins weren't already nine games out, Mauer would top this list. If they were still 20 games under .500, as they were a couple weeks back, he'd be farther down the list. The Twins aren't nearly the same team without Mauer, but his impact on the pennant race is limited by how bad they've been without him -- and by the continuing uncertainty about how effective he'll be when he returns.

4. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins, back inflammation, last played May 29, expected to return Tuesday. The Marlins, finishing up a brutal offensive homestand that cost hitting coach John Mallee his job, obviously need a boost. Ramirez, a one-time National League batting champ, could obviously provide it. But will he? Ramirez hit just .210 in 48 games before going on the DL. Even with that, the Marlins were just two games behind the Phillies when Ramirez last played. They're seven games out now, and he'll be back for the start of a four-game series in Philadelphia.
5. Magglio Ordonez, Tigers, right ankle weakness, last played May 10, returning Monday night. If he hits .172, as he did before the Tigers put him on the DL, he's the least important guy on this list. If he's a .300 hitter, as he has been for most of his career (including last year), he's as important as anyone, and might be enough to make the Tigers clear favorites in the AL Central.

6. Pablo Sandoval, Giants, fractured hamate bone, last played April 29, will return Tuesday. The way the Giants struggle to score runs, some will make the case that the Panda is as important as anyone. I dropped him down only because the Giants went 25-16 in his absence. Yes, Buster Posey is out of the lineup now, but the Giants are above .500 since he's been out, too.

7. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals, abdominal surgery, last played April 9, expected to return Tuesday. The Nationals without Zimmerman might be the worst offensive team in the game. The Nationals with Zimmerman could hope to escape last place by passing the Mets. It's hard to say Zimmerman will impact the pennant race, except by making the Nationals a significantly tougher opponent.

Posted on: April 6, 2011 9:42 am
Edited on: April 6, 2011 2:31 pm

White Sox's Dunn has appendectomy

The White Sox are hopeful that Adam Dunn won't miss much time after an emergency appendectomy early Wednesday.

The initial indication is that Dunn may miss less than a week. The White Sox announced on their Twitter account that Dunn will miss "up to five games."

Matt Holliday of the Cardinals had his appendix out last week, and the Cardinals are similarly hopeful of a quick return. Last September, Andres Torres of the Giants missed 12 days after an appendectomy.

Dunn is off to a decent start after signing with the White Sox as a free agent last winter. In four games, he has a 1.045 OPS, with one home run and 5 RBI.

Posted on: December 16, 2009 10:53 am
Edited on: December 16, 2009 10:57 am

Are the Mets really 'Hopeless!'?

The Mets won the last two winters, landing first Johan Santana and then both Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz.

The Mets lost the last two summers.

So does it matter that so far this offseason, the Mets just seem to be falling farther and farther behind their big rivals in Philadelphia and the Bronx? Shouldn't the Mets and their fans understand by now that it's not all about grabbing big bold headlines in the winter?

Perhaps, but the way the Mets have operated this winter is enough to make you wonder. It's enough to make rival executives wonder.

When the Mets capped off a lackluster winter meetings by basically announcing that they were making offers to Jason Bay and Bengie Molina, plenty of those rival executives asked if it was all for show.

"They made an offer to Bay that they knew wouldn't get it done," one said, noting that the Mets' reported offer of $60-65 million over four years was basically the same deal they knew Bay had just rejected from the Red Sox.

So now, after two more days of screaming back-page headlines -- today's Daily News has general manager Omar Minaya dressed as Santa Claus shouting "Ho! Ho! Hopeless!" -- SI.com's Jon Heyman reports that the Mets not only would be willing to go to five years for Bay (albeit for a lesser per-year salary), but that they want in on the bidding for Matt Holliday, as well.

And again people will ask, is it all for show?

If the Mets indeed have money -- even their own people have asked the question in conversations with friends around the game -- then this should be another good winter for them. The Red Sox are now out of the bidding on Bay, and the market for both him and for Holliday has seemed to be slow to develop.

The Giants keep insisting they're not in. The Angels could be a factor, at least for Bay, but they really wanted to add a big pitcher rather than a big outfielder. The Yankees are always lurking, but the need isn't great and the keep-him-away-from-the-Red-Sox factor isn't there, the way it was a year ago with Mark Teixeira.

So maybe patience really is the right course for the Mets, and maybe it will land them the big bat they really do need. Maybe they'll win another winter.

And maybe this time it won't lead to summer disaster.

Category: MLB
Posted on: December 7, 2009 10:21 pm

Red Sox talk Bay -- and Holliday

INDIANAPOLIS -- Some people who know Matt Holliday believe that Holliday strongly wants to stay in the National League, and that he would most prefer to stay with the Cardinals.

But that may not keep the Red Sox from making a big attempt to sign him.

While the Red Sox are still working at re-signing Jason Bay, their own free-agent left fielder, people familiar with the team's plans said that the Sox continue to debate the pluses and minuses of both Bay and Holliday, and are still strongly involved with both players.

The Sox signed free-agent shortstop Marco Scutaro before the winter meetings began, so locking up a run-producing outfielder became their main order of business this week.

It makes sense for them to keep their options open, because Bay has attracted interest from the Angels (as colleague Scott Miller reported) and from the Mariners.
Category: MLB
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