Matt Holliday sat out Game 6 last night with a back injury and various reports had him doubtful to play Game 7, but the Cardinals left fielder is in the starting lineup tonight.
It’s possible he could be a last-minute scratch if pregame workouts don’t go well, but for now at least Holliday is playing left field and batting in his usual No. 3 spot between Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig.
Matt Carpenter started at first base in Holliday’s absence last night, with Allen Craig shifting to left field. Holliday has hit just .222 with one homer and a .597 OPS in 11 games this postseason.
Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.
When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.
Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.