Holland Nearing Return

After back-to-back rehab outings in Springfield (AA), reliever Greg Holland could be returning to the active roster as early as tomorrow when the St. Louis Cardinals begin their road trip in Philadelphia.

“It looks like we might be going that direction,” acknowledged Mike Matheny. “He said he felt like he’s figured it out.”

What exactly is ‘it’?

“A little bit of everything,” said Matheny. “Part of it physical but most of it trying to figure out what it was that was missing from that ‘feel’–that mysterious ‘feel’ that we always talk about whether it’s offensively or defensively. But it’s real and once you get it, that’s usually when a guy takes off.”

Out since May 26th with a hip impingement, Holland has missed the last 20 games. He made three rehab appearances at Memphis (AAA) before being re-evaluated and then heading back for another pair of games in Springfield.

In those last two outings, Holland allowed two combined hits–one a solo home run while striking out two batters and walking one. Of his 29 pitches, 20 were marked as strikes.

“There’s obviously the conversation about the intensity of closing a game and how that sometimes brings the best out of guys, I do get that,” said Matheny. “But it’s going to be tough to duplicate that and replicate it except to just no matter what the situation is, being able to get him to go out and make good pitches.”

Matheny also confirmed that Jose Martinez has welcomed a healthy baby girl, Alana, and is headed back from the paternity list.

In Martinez’ absence, Luke Voit was added to the Cardinals roster but his return to Memphis is not expected to be made official until after tonight’s game and there is confirmation Martinez will be ready for tomorrow’s game in Philadelphia.

FLAHERTY ON THE BUMP

–Tonight will be the second career appearance and first start for Jack Flaherty against Chicago. He threw a scoreless inning of relief against the Cubs last September.

Pitching through the heat and out of some tough circumstances in his last start with only allowing one run, Flaherty earned the praise of his manager and teammates. If a similar scenario develops tonight, will the rookie be allowed an extended stay on the mound?

“I think it’s all in how it looks,” said Matheny. “See what we have with what he’s doing and how things are going, realize what we have and don’t have in the ‘pen but we should have some help for him back there.”

In his last five starts, Flaherty has 34 strikeouts, which is tied for the 7th most among National League pitchers.

photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

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