The Braves weren’t the only first-place team who lost a player due to a hamstring injury tonight. According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday made an early exit from tonight’s game against the Cubs due to what is being called right hamstring tightness.
Holliday suffered the injury on a ground out to shortstop in the top of the fourth inning. The severity of the issue isn’t yet known, but the Cardinals could play short-handed for now in hopes that he makes progress over the All-Star break.
Holliday is having a down season for his usual lofty standards, batting .268/.351/.448 with 13 home runs and 47 RBI through 83 games. The Cardinals have the ability to use Allen Craig in left field and Matt Adams at first base if he needs to miss time. Not too bad as far as backup plans go.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.