Holliday close to return after successful BP

Cardinals hope injured outfielder can ramp up recovery before Cubs games

Holliday close to return after successful BP

DENVER -- Matt Holliday may be on the verge of returning to action with the Cardinals after missing more than a month due to a right thumb fracture. He took batting practice during the Cards' three-game series at Coors Field, and all reports have been good, both in terms of his ability to take good swings and the lack of negative effects afterwards.

During Holliday's first BP session on Monday, he hit a ball over 450 feet onto the concourse in left field, breaking the window of a "Helton Burger" concession stand, named after his former Rockies teammate, Todd Helton.

"He had a good day [Tuesday]," manager Mike Matheny said. "He didn't shatter anything. For us, it's all about the swelling in the thumb afterwards. This will be the third day in a row, so it'll be a good test to see how he feels not just today, but tomorrow, and then make a decision from there."

Holliday had no complaints about the thumb after his first two days of hitting -- the second and third day were in the indoor batting cage at Coors Field. With a scheduled off-day Thursday, the Cardinals will see how Holliday reacts and then, ideally, step it up a notch at Wrigley Field when they play a weekend series with the Cubs.

Holliday fractures thumb on HBP

"Probably the next step, if he goes a few consecutive days without any kind of negative feedback, then we'll try and figure out a way to get a live session," Matheny said.

With Friday and Saturday afternoon games at Wrigley, the Cardinals will try to stage some morning sessions for Holliday and the rest of the team.

"I don't know how they're going to stop us," Matheny said of the challenge of scheduling early batting practice at Wrigley. "They've got to give us the field. You guys know how we stand about batting practice. We can do without it. But typically, there's mandatory early time too. I'd rather do that than do it when the stands are full of people. We'll do whatever we have to do."

Holliday has been on the DL since Aug. 12. He is batting .242 (92-for-380) with 19 homers and 60 RBIs this season.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.