Matt Holliday has been used in both of the Cardinals' last two games against Colorado as a pinch hitter, but wasn't in the lineup on Sunday. Still, with the two at-bats, Holliday is close to returning to the lineup for the first time since May 22 because of a strained left quadriceps.
"Make sure when we get him back, he's 100 percent," LaRussa told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Hopefully tomorrow. We'll get him back tomorrow or early [against] San Francisco."
The Cardinals start a four-game series against the defending World Series champions on Monday at Busch Stadium.
The Cardinals are 3-2 without Holliday in this stretch, but will certainly improve when he returns. While Lance Berkman has stolen the headlines, Holliday is having another excellent season in St. Louis. In his 42 games (he's been limited by his quadriceps and also missed seven games after having his appendix taken out last month), he's been fantastic, hitting .347/.440/.533 with six home runs. With Albert Pujols struggling -- or struggling by his standards -- Holliday and Berkman have been able to pick up the slack.
Holliday also told Goold that his running has improved. He's been swinging the bat fine during batting practice, but his ability to play in the field is the issue.
The one thing the pinch-hit appearances have done is taken the option of the disabled list off the table. Holliday has gone 0 for 1 in his two pinch-hit appearances against the Rockies, being intentionally walked on Friday.