CLEVELAND (AP) — Bruised elbow or not, St. Louis outfielder Matt Holliday strong armed his way into the starting lineup on Thursday.
Holliday convinced Cardinals manager Mike Matheny to play him at designated hitter for the series finale against Cleveland, a day after he left the game after being struck on the left elbow by a pitch from Indians starter Corey Kluber. X-rays on Holliday's elbow were negative and the club believed he would be day-to-day.
However, Holliday had other plans. He arrived at Progressive Field and after getting treatment, grabbed a bat and headed toward the indoor cages. He then approached Matheny, who agreed to make a late change to his lineup.
"He took some swings in the cage," Matheny said. "He pulled me aside and lobbied hard to be in the lineup."
The Cardinals also placed outfielder Jon Jay on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his left wrist. Jay had arthroscopic surgery on the wrist in October.
Jay said the soreness has been frustrating and he believes some rest will help.
"I knew it wouldn't be perfect after surgery," Jay said. "It's time to take a step back now for later on."
A six-time All-Star, Holliday is the only player in the majors to have 20 homers, 30 doubles and 75 RBIs in each of the past nine seasons. Holliday is batting .346 with 21 RBIs and has reached base in all 31 games this season.
Matheny marveled how Holliday could quickly bounce back after being nailed on the elbow by a 94 mph fastball.
"His toughness has never been a question," Matheny said. "This guy is kind of freakish in his ability to heal. He truly thrives on wanting to be out there every day. When he's feeling good, he knows he can make a difference."
Matheny also said some of Holliday's motive to play was to show the Indians they're messing with the wrong guy.
"I wouldn't rule out the fact, I've been knocked around a bit, I take it personal," Matheny said. "I want to get back in there and not let me think they got me down, too. There's an edge to that, too. Maybe you got me last night, but I'm coming back and I'm going to make somebody pay."
The club recalled outfielder/first baseman Xavier Scruggs from Triple-A Memphis to fill Jay's roster spot. Scruggs batted .229 with a team-leading six homers and 18 RBIs for Memphis. He appeared in nine games for the Cardinals last season.