St. Louis Update: Holliday Requires Appendectomy
April 1, 2011 Leave a comment
One day after the St. Louis Cardinals opened their 2011 season with a 5-3 defeat against the San Diego Padres, the team announced that star left fielder Matt Holliday underwent an appendectomy Friday afternoon, rendering the left fielder out of action indefinitely (ESPN News link).
Holliday went 3-4 with a home run in yesterday’s loss. Last season, his first full season in St. Louis after agreeing to a seven-year contract extension in the off-season, Holliday hit .312 with 28 home runs and 103 runs batted in batting behind first baseman Albert Pujols. The four-time All-Star finished second in the Most Valuable Player voting back in 2007 after he led his Colorado Rockies on a late surge into post-season play and a surprise World Series appearance.
The immediate effect on the Cardinals line-up will be dramatic. The purpose in the Cardinals acquiring Holliday at the trade deadline in 2009 was to serve as a buffer to force pitchers to pitch to Pujols ahead of him while providing pop of his own. Outfielders John Jay and Allen Craig are likely to split time in Holliday’s absence, but neither provide the offensive power that is now missing from Tony LaRussa’s squad. Right fielder Lance Berkman is the likeliest candidate to move into the clean-up slot to hit behind Pujols, but Berkman is no longer the player that averaged 33 home runs and 109 runs batted in over his 13-year career.
Though the team hasn’t placed a timetable on Holliday’s return, the recovery time for an appendectomy is usually between four to six weeks. With that in mind, it is likely that Holliday won’t be able to return to the Cardinals everyday line-up until mid-May, at the earliest.
The Cardinals have been hampered by injuries already this season, having lost ace pitcher Adam Wainwright to Tommy John surgery early on in Spring Training. This latest road block will definitely hurt the Cardinals chances of keeping pace with the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers at the top of the National League Central.