By Matt Snyder
The St. Louis Cardinals will play Thursday against the Astros without their two biggest bats -- at least the two biggest thus far in 2011 -- as both Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman will miss the game with injuries. (MLBlogs) Both outfielders exited Wednesday night's game with their respective maladies.
Holliday has tightness in his left quadriceps and was removed in the third inning Wednesday. He's the closer of the two to returning and is available in pinch-hitting duty Thursday. This seems like a pretty minor injury, so only expect Holliday to miss a day or two. He leads the National League with a .357 batting average, adding five home runs, 28 RBI, 30 runs, 13 doubles and a 1.002 OPS. This all came with him missing just over a week after having an appendectomy.
Berkman has a sore wrist and underwent X-Rays Wednesday night. He reportedly said they came back negative, but Berkman is still unavailable Thursday as the club awaits further evaluation by team doctors. If any of the evaluations determine Berkman needs to miss some time, it would be a huge blow to the Cardinals. Not only does Berkman serve as Holliday's protection in the lineup, but he's been one of the best hitters in baseball this season. He's hitting .349 with nine doubles, 11 home runs, 31 runs, an NL-best 35 RBI and an NL-best 1.138 OPS.
Allen Craig, Jon Jay and a returning Colby Rasmus -- who had been out the last several days with an ab issue -- will be the three outfielders Thursday for the Cardinals.
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