Matt Holliday aiming to return to Cardinals’ lineup Thursday

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According to Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Matt Holliday is targeting a Thursday return from the 15-day disabled list.

The left fielder has been out since June 1 with tightness in his left quadriceps muscle. He took batting practice and went through a strenuous workout before Saturday’s game at Miller Park in Milwaukee and told reporters that he had been running for several days at home in St. Louis before joining the team for the weekend.

Holliday, 31, left behind a shiny .342/.433/.542 batting line, six home runs and 33 RBI. He’s been a force at cleanup when healthy, and the Cardinals will hope that he picks it all back up.

Allen Craig was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a bruised knee and outfielder Andrew Brown was recalled from Triple-A Memphis. Brown will likely head back down Thursday to make room for Holliday.

Tim Tebow homered in his first at-bat with Single-A St. Lucie

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Mets minor league outfielder and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow was recently promoted from Single-A Columbia to advanced Single-A St. Lucie. Critics suggested that, because Tebow wasn’t exactly lighting up competition with Columbia, the promotion was just about marketing.

Tebow, to his credit, has gotten off to a good start with St. Lucie. In his first at-bat with his new team, he hit a two-run home run, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. The home run came on a 3-1 count against starter Junior Fernandez of the Palm Beach Cardinals. Fernandez is the Cardinals’ No. 10 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

With Columbia, Tebow was hitting a paltry .220/.311/.336 with three home runs and 23 RBI in 244 plate appearances.

Cardinals option Aledmys Diaz to Triple-A

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The Cardinals announced on Wednesday that shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been optioned to Triple-A Memphis and infielder Alex Mejia’s contract has been purchased from Memphis.

Diaz, 26, impressed last season when he posted an .879 OPS and finished fifth in National League Rookie of the Year balloting. This year has been rough on Diaz, as he’s batting .260/.293/.396 with seven home runs and 20 RBI in 288 plate appearances. He’s the second major Cardinals player to get sent down to the minors along with Randal Grichuk.

Diaz was surprised by the demotion. Via MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch:

Mejia, 26, opened the season with Double-A Springfield but was promoted to Triple-A two weeks ago. With Springfield, he hit .251/.305/.366 in 251 PA. In 42 PA with Memphis, he hit .263/.333/.289.