Holliday out of lineup, but expected back soon

Cardinals veteran exited Monday's game with leg cramp

Holliday out of lineup, but expected back soon

PHOENIX -- The Cardinals held Matt Holliday out of the lineup for their 8-2 win on Tuesday, a day after he exited a game due to cramping in his right leg. His absence, however, is expected to be brief, evidenced by how spry the left fielder looked while participating in pregame defensive drills at Chase Field.

Holliday, at the medical staff's request, skipped batting practice and took his swings in the indoor cage instead. His on-field activity was limited to first-base fielding exercises, though, at one point, Holliday was stretching to receive throws off the bag.

"He's bouncing around," Matheny said as he observed the work. "Looks like a spring chicken."

It was an encouraging sign for the Cardinals, who opted to proceed with great caution given that the area of cramping was concentrated around the same quad muscle that Holliday tore last season. Recovery from that injury limited Holliday to a career-low 73 games in 2015.

"I don't think it was any big deal, but I still think, especially this early in the season, we don't want to risk trying to push it too much," Holliday said. "I could have played today, but Mike and the trainers thought it would be better to just make sure we take a day with limited activity and be ready to go tomorrow."

Holliday drove in the team's first run in Monday's 12-7 loss with a triple and then scored on an groundout. It was during his run to home, he said, that he first felt "a little cramp sensation." After it persisted through his third-inning at-bat, the Cardinals pulled him out of the game.

The Cardinals did not feel the injury was severe enough to warrant sending Holliday out for further examination on Tuesday. He is expected to be available off the bench for the second game of the team's four-game series in Arizona.

WORTH NOTING:

Kolten Wong continued to be bothered by illness on Tuesday and spent the afternoon quarantined from his teammates. Wong entered as part of a double switch in Monday's loss and committed two fielding miscues during his inning on the field. He was taken out after batting in the next inning and said afterward that he felt so weak he feared he might pass out on the field.

• Tuesday marked the 550th career start for Matt Carpenter, but the first in which he started as the team's three-hole hitter. Carpenter, whose previous 18 starts this year came as a leadoff man, moved down into the No. 3 spot due to Holliday's absence.

• Right-hander Ryan Helsley, a fifth-round pick from the 2015 First-Year Player Draft, was named the Midwest League Pitcher of the Week for his performance from April 18-24. Helsley, who pitches for low-A Peoria, allowed one hit and two walks while striking out 11 in a win last week.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.