Report: Matt Holliday “doubtful” to return this season

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Bad news for the surging Cardinals.

A team source tells Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Matt Holliday’s availability for the rest of the season is “doubtful.”

Holliday left last Tuesday’s game with tendon damage to the base of his right middle finger. Strauss hears that it’s a matter of pain tolerance right now, as Holliday has yet to resume swinging a bat since returning to St. Louis following the injury.

While Cardinals manager Tony La Russa didn’t have an update from the training staff prior to tonight’s game, he insisted that there is “no reason” to rush Holliday back into the starting lineup. It’s not clear what his availability might be if the Cardinals defy the odds and actually make the postseason, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be able to help them get there.

Allen Craig, who homered twice and doubled in last night’s win over the Phillies, should see the bulk of the playing time in left field for now.

Athletics and Mariners to begin the 2019 regular season in Tokyo

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Oakland A’s and the Seattle Mariners will begin the 2019 regular season in Japan, in the Tokyo Dome.

The series will mark the third time that the A’s will begin their season in Japan, first doing it in 2008 against the Red Sox and then again in 2012 against the Mariners.

This is just the latest of Major League Baseball’s moves to expand the the game internationally. In addition to those previous series in Japan, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks opened their season in Australia in 2014 and the Dodgers and Padres will play a series in Mexico City this May. There has likewise been talk of the Mets playing a series in London, though those details have not yet been worked out. Obviously the World Baseball Classic represents the league’s effort to broaden the global scope of the once national pastime.

Get ready for early morning baseball, folks.