Matt Holliday is still bothered by the inflamed tendon in his right hand, but the Cardinals outfielder tested the injury during batting practice this afternoon and has decided to play tonight against the Phillies.
Holliday told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that he took “a numbing agent … like a dentist gives” in order to play through the pain and is “good enough to help the team in some way.”
Holliday was out of the lineup for the first three games of the NLDS and struck out as a pinch-hitter in Game 1. His return means Skip Schumaker will start at second base, with Ryan Theriot moving to the bench. It also means Allen Craig will be on the bench after playing so well whenever he’s gotten an opportunity this season, which is why letting a banged-up Holliday talk his way into the lineup is a risk for manager Tony La Russa.
Pirates right-hander Joe Musgrove is done for the year after suffering an abdominal wall muscle strain and stress reaction in his pelvic bone. While he isn’t expected to undergo surgery or miss additional time in 2019, he’s been prescribed six weeks of rest before resuming any baseball-related activities.
Musgrove, 25, finished out his third year in Pittsburgh with a 6-9 record in 19 starts, backed by a 4.06 ERA, 1.8 BB/9, and 7.8 SO/9. Despite logging a career-high 115 1/3 innings at the major league level, he’s also been dogged by a string of injuries, from the shoulder strain that robbed him of eight weeks at the start of the season to an index finger infection that kept him sidelined for a minimum 10-day stay on the disabled list in June.
While he works his way back up to full strength yet again, rookie right-hander Nick Kingham is expected to cover for him and will make a spot start during the Pirates’ series finale against the Brewers on Sunday. The 26-year-old righty hasn’t started a single game for the team since August 1, and currently carries a 4.69 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.1 SO/9 over 71 innings out of the rotation and bullpen.