Matt Holliday will return to the Cardinals’ lineup Sunday

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Good news here for the Cardinals, who haven’t been getting many breaks in the early going and currently sit three games back of the Reds in the National League Central standings.

According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, outfielder Matt Holliday has been cleared to return to action and will be in the Cardinals’ lineup for Sunday afternoon’s series finale in San Francisco.

Holliday underwent an emergency appendectomy on April 2 and early timetables had him missing as much as a month. But the in-shape left fielder felt healthy almost immediately after the procedure and was given clearance Saturday night by team trainers.

Giants outfielder Andres Torres rushed back from an appendectomy in 11 days last year and told reporters after the season that he may have returned too quickly. But these are sort of case-by-base things. Adam Dunn, for instance, is already trying to claw his way back into the Chicago starting lineup despite having his appendix removed just this past Wednesday.

Holliday went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI on Opening Day. It’s the only game he’s played thus far.

Jon Lester to miss one or two starts

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Jon Lester had a terrible outing yesterday, allowing nine runs — seven earned — and leaving the game before he could complete two innings.Lester entered the afternoon with a 3.99 ERA. He exited with a 4.37 ERA. Later the Cubs said that Lester was suffering from left lat tightness.

The Cubs are now saying that Lester will miss 1-2 starts. They are sending him to see Dr. Stephen Gryzlo for a more in-depth exam, and it’s possible Gryzlo will determine the injury is more serious, but at the moment the assessment seems cautiously optimistic.

Mike Montgomery will fill in for Lester for the time being.

Adam Wainwright ain’t right

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Adam Wainwright was knocked out of yesterday’s game against the Pirates, allowing five runs on seven hits in three innings. For the second straight start his velocity suffered as well, with his fastball sitting in the mid-80s. This is not the Adam Wainwright the Cardinals are accustomed to and not the one they need. So they’re going to try to figure out what’s wrong. Wainwright, Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reports, is headed back to St. Louis to meet with team doctors about his arm.

One wonders if this isn’t one start too late, given his struggles in his last outing and given that he said after that outing that he’s dealing with some pain on the outside of his elbow/triceps area. He did say, in the team’s defense, that that is a problem he’s dealt with in the past and that it has always gone away on its own. Still, it hasn’t always been accompanied by a velocity reduction, so this could be more worrisome. Also in the Cards’ defense: Wainwright is a 12-year veteran who has a way better handle on his own body than some kid might, so it’s understandable that they gave him the benefit of the doubt.

Still: concerning. The Cardinals are in a dogfight for the NL central and, while 2017 Adam Wainwright isn’t the same pitcher he used to be, having him around for the stretch would be preferable.