Matt Holliday activated from disabled list

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As expected, the Cardinals have activated outfielder Matt Holliday from the 15-day disabled list. He’ll be in the starting lineup this afternoon against the Braves, batting third and playing left field.

Holliday has been sidelined since July 11 due to a strained right hamstring. He was able to make it back in the minimum 15 days and ended up missing 10 games.

Holliday has been a bit of a disappointment this season, batting .268/.351/.448 with 13 home runs and 47 RBI through 83 games. He’s hitting ground balls and infield fly balls at a career-high clip, which has made him a much easier out than normal. The 33-year-old entered this season with a .313/.387/.536 career batting line.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.