Matt Holliday expects to return to lineup Saturday

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The Cardinals’ playoff chances took a serious hit with a heartbreaking loss to the Mets yesterday, but they are about to get a much-needed boost for the home stretch.

After taking batting practice prior to tonight’s game against the Cubs, Matt Holliday told B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest that he expects to return to the starting lineup tomorrow. In fact, it’s possible he could be available to pinch-hit tonight.

Holliday hasn’t played since last Tuesday due to inflammation in his right middle finger. We heard earlier this week that he was “doubtful” to return this season, but he has made rapid progress this week.

While the Cardinals will welcome Holliday back with open arms, Allen Craig has stepped up admirably during his absence. The 27-year-old is batting .381 (8-for-21) with three homers, two doubles and six RBI over his last five games.