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.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.

Athletics call up top prospect Franklin Barreto

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The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.

Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.

While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.