Matt Holliday Injury: Updates on Cardinals Star's Back, Likely Return Date

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2013

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 17:  Matt Holliday #7 of the St. Louis Cardinals rounds the bases on his two run homerun off of Rob Scahill #62 of the Colorado Rockies to give the Cards a 10-0 lead in the fifth inning at Coors Field on September 17, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Mike Matheny's job just got a little harder as he's going to be without Matt Holliday for yet another vital game.

MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reported that back tightness will keep the veteran outfielder out of the Cardinals lineup for the third game in a row.   

Matt Holliday out of #STLCards lineup for a third straight day. Still dealing with back tightness.

— Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) September 24, 2013

St. Louis takes on the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.

There's no doubting Holliday's absence is a significant one for St. Louis. He's second on the team in home runs (20), runs batted in (91) and runs (99). He's also tied for fourth in batting average (.298). Few Cardinals players have been as consistent across the board as the 10-year veteran.

Perhaps this is more of a precautionary measure from the Cards and they don't want to risk Holliday to further injury before the postseason. Although these next five games are important, obviously St. Louis would rather have him at 100 percent in a critical playoff series.

While back tightness doesn't sound like that serious of a problem, it could potentially be a lingering issue without rest. Holliday just needs to take some time off to fully recuperate.

The Cardinals have locked up a playoff spot, so that's not a concern, and perhaps that's a bit more of an incentive to keep Holliday on the bench. The issue at hand, though, is whether they'll be able to avoid the one-game wild-card playoff. St. Louis has a two-game lead on both the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central.

Getting Holliday back to full health will be key if St. Louis wants to lock up the division and make a World Series push.