ST. LOUIS -- Matt Holliday deservedly drew an audience on Monday while, in his first coach-pitched batting-practice session since undergoing surgery to repair a fractured right thumb, he found the left-field seats with ease.
As he blasted one home run after another, Holliday didn't appear any bit impeded by the thumb, which was fractured by an errant Mike Montgomery pitch the last time the Cubs and Cardinals met and surgically repaired on Aug. 17. Holliday also spent time on Monday at first base, where he fielded ground balls and made throws to second. That, too, presented no issues.
"I felt good," Holliday said after wrapping up his on-field work. "I didn't have any restrictions, and it felt nice to hit."
Holliday received clearance to increase baseball activities last Wednesday after visiting with a hand specialist. At that time the Cardinals estimated that it would be another two to three weeks before Holliday could return. His showcase of skills on Monday, however, hinted at the possibility of an earlier comeback.
Holliday acknowledged that he has a few more hurdles to clear before he would be activated. Among those is facing pitchers in batting practice. He shied away from guessing about a potential return date.
"We haven't really come up with exactly when [I will return]," he said. "We'll see how it responds [on Tuesday] and go from there."
Holliday's return would provide the Cardinals another option to fill a left-field position that has been devoid of offensive production for some time. Brandon Moss has one hit in his last 41 at-bats, while Tommy Pham and Jeremy Hazelbaker were a combined 0-for-35 entering Monday.
• Though the Cardinals activated rookie shortstop Aledmys Diaz from the DL on Sunday, he has still not returned to the lineup. Manager Mike Matheny said the club wants to continue watching how Diaz responds to fielding and hitting work before giving him a start. Diaz is recovering from a fractured right thumb, an injury sustained on July 31.
• During Monday's Lou Brock Tribute Night at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals presented Brock with a check for $25,000 for the Cardinals Care fund established in his name to raise money for children with diabetes. Fans interested in donating to this cause can still do so by visiting cardinals.com/lou.
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.