Aiming for return, Holliday opts for surgery

Aiming for return, Holliday opts for surgery

HOUSTON -- Given the option of undergoing surgery or allowing his fractured right thumb to heal with rest, Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday opted to take the path that would give him a chance to return to the field this season.

That means Holliday will undergo surgery in St. Louis on Wednesday to repair a bone that was fractured by a 94-mph pitch last Thursday. Having the procedure does not guarantee a return in 2016, but it at least allows for the possibility. There's a little less than seven weeks remaining in the regular season.

"The way it was expressed to me is the procedure was the only chance of potentially getting back this year," manager Mike Matheny said. "That's a big step to make. Any time you get cut on, there are things that go along with that. Matt just wants to play. [I'm] not surprised with Matt just wanting to get back and play and help out the club."

Holliday started 99 of the team's 115 games before being knocked out of Thursday's loss by an errant Mike Montgomery pitch. Though he had a career-low .242 batting average and .318 on-base percentage at the time of the injury, he was on pace to finish the year with 27 homers and 84 RBIs.

Holliday, Maness suffer injuries

He had a chance at eclipsing a couple of career milestones, too, as he is six homers shy of 300 and seven hits from 2,000.

But if Holliday can't rehab quickly enough, there's a chance his career as a Cardinal ended with that pitch off his hand. The Cardinals have not indicated whether they intend to exercise Holliday's $17 million club option, which can otherwise be bought out for $1 million. That decision has to be made within five days of the end of the World Series.

Holliday has been a key offensive contributor for the organization since being acquired at the 2009 non-waiver Trade Deadline. In parts of eight seasons, he has hit .292/.379/.493 with 155 homers and 614 RBIs.

Injury updates

Lance Lynn, who underwent Tommy John surgery in November 2015, began a rehab assignment with high Class A Palm Beach on Monday by throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings. He struck out two and allowed one hit while throwing 19 of his 27 pitches for strikes.

Though encouraged by Lynn's first test against competition, the Cardinals do not plan to rush him through his final rehab steps. It will be another several weeks before the organization will decide whether it's feasible that he could rejoin the Major League team this season.

• Catcher Brayan Pena is slated to begin a rehab assignment with Palm Beach on Friday. Pena has been on the DL since July 6 due to inflammation in his left knee.

• Reliever Jordan Walden, out since March with a strained right shoulder, is likely to begin his rehab assignment with Palm Beach on Sunday.

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