Time short for Holliday's return this season

Cardinals hope to activate outfielder from DL in final week

Time short for Holliday's return this season

ST. LOUIS -- Though Matt Holliday has not given up on the possibility of returning this week, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak acknowledged it was difficult to envision a scenario in which the veteran left fielder contributes before the end of the regular season.

Holliday has not hit on the field since his surgically repaired right thumb turned up sore and swollen after he faced reliever Mike Mayers in a 15-minute batting practice session Friday. Since then, Holliday's only swing work has come in the indoor batting cage.

"He's still having to take it slow, and clearly with only six days left, and this one gone, to try to imagine him being cleared for a game, I think would be difficult," Mozeliak said. "But there is still some level of hope, and at this point, he has not shut it down. … Just from a production standpoint, I think it's a question."

Mozeliak did not rule out activating Holliday from the disabled list this week simply to have him as a possible option off the bench. With expanded rosters in play, there would be no risk with making that move.

Holliday did receive reassurance from a hand specialist on Monday that his thumb is structurally sound. Now, it becomes a tolerance issue for the outfielder, who is one month and 10 days removed from surgery. There is always the chance, too, that Holliday could put himself in position to contribute in the postseason, if the Cardinals extend their season.

In other injury news, Mozeliak divulged that second baseman Kolten Wong received a cortisone injection in his sore right shoulder on Monday. The earliest Wong could return to the field would be Wednesday. Wong injured his shoulder when he tumbled in left field on Friday, and he has not appeared since.

Even though Matt Carpenter continues to deal with inflammation around his right middle finger, he was back in his customary leadoff spot on Tuesday. Aledmys Diaz returned to the lineup as well, though he continues to work to strengthen his right arm, which weakened while he was recovering from a thumb injury. Manager Mike Matheny could give no assurance that Diaz will be ready to start every day from here on out.

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.