Good news for Cards: Kolten Wong cleared to return, Matt Holliday could be activated Friday

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Good news on two fronts for the Cardinals this evening, as second baseman Kolten Wong has been cleared to return and outfielder Matt Holliday could be activated from the disabled list as soon as tomorrow.

Wong showed signs of a concussion after he made a leaping catch during Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Cubs, but Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told John McGonigal of MLB.com this afternoon that he was cleared by doctors. He’s available off the bench tonight and the expectation is that he’ll be back in the starting lineup Friday.

Holliday has been out for a month with a Grade 2 strain of his right quad. He’s not ready to play in the outfield quite yet, but Matheny said that he could be an option off the bench this weekend during an important NL Central battle against the Pirates. Of course, Holliday was elected by the fans to start for the National League in next week’s All-Star Game and still hopes to play.

Giants nearing deal with Cameron Maybin

Cameron Maybin
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The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.

Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.

The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.

In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.