The left fielder had the surgery Friday but the team believes the condition was caught early and he could be back before the end of a 15-day DL stint.
|Matt Holliday undergoes surgery on Friday, but might be able to return quick enough to avoid a DL stint. (AP)|
"They're saying it went well," La Russa said. "That's all I know so far."
David Freese took Holliday's cleanup spot against San Diego Padres left-hander Clayton Richard, and Allen Craig played in left field. La Russa said he'd likely move Lance Berkman, a switch hitter who's been more productive batting left-handed in recent seasons, up from fifth to cleanup against right-handed pitchers while Holliday is out.
Albert Pujols said he spoke with Holliday before the laparoscopic procedure and was optimistic he'd be back soon.
"Obviously, his presence is going to be missed," Pujols said. "When you look at that lineup, you're expecting Matt to be there, and he won't be there probably for the next week or so."
Craig, who was batting sixth, and Jon Jay will get the bulk of the playing time. Craig has long been considered one of the franchise's best offensive prospects, but has struggled in a bench role.
"I think that's tough for anybody," Craig said. "We always want to be in the lineup and be playing every day and it's easier to make adjustments. But it's part of my job, and part of the job for all the guys that aren't playing a lot, to be ready."
Craig got work at third base in spring training as a backup option for Freese, who is coming off surgery to both ankles last season. Craig doesn't care where the Cardinals put him.
Craig started at all four corner positions last year, with 23 of his 27 starts in right field, two in left field and one each at first base and third base. La Russa said Berkman would stay in right field.
"It's good to be good at a bunch of positions," Craig said. "Then they can put you in the lineup wherever they need you."
Freese batted cleanup once last year as a rookie, going 0 for 4 at Pittsburgh May 9. La Russa batted Freese fourth in spring games when Holliday had the day off.