The adversity continues to pile up in St. Louis.
According to Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch, Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday will be held out of the starting lineup for a second straight game Sunday against the Indians due to back spasms.
It’s not a major injury and isn’t in danger of becoming one, but his absence is still a concern for a team with four fairly key offensive contributors (Lance Berkman, Jon Jay, Skip Schumaker and Matt Carpenter) currently on the disabled list. Not to mention ace Chris Carpenter and lefty Jaime Garcia.
Holliday is batting .276/.362/.458 with 10 homers and 35 RBI. He’ll presumably be back Tuesday.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.