The emergency surgery to remove Matt Holliday's appendix certainly harms the heart of the St. Louis Cardinals lineup. But with the advent of laparoscopic procedures, the Cardinals have yet to put the All-Star slugger on the DL.
His absence and the early-season struggles of Albert Pujols have left St. Louis hurting for runs early this season. But it could be worse.
Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria was Tampa Bay Rays: Evan Longoria Heads To the DL">placed on the 15-day DL with an oblique strain on Sunday and manager Joe Madden expects Longoria to miss up to three weeks with the injury. The Rays are off to an 0-3 start in the stout AL East thanks, in part, to a weak offense.
Former Cardinal Felipe Lopez has been tabbed to replace Longoria in the lineup.
St. Louis fans can only pity the plight the Rays are in, given their knowledge of Lopez's capabilities at the hot corner. After a positive stint with the Redbirds for 43 games late in the 2008 season, Lopez was a tremendous disappointment in 2010 with St. Louis. He batted .231 with a paltry OPS of .651 as the fill-in for the injured David Freese, eventually being cut in September due to repeated tardiness and ineffectual play.
Holliday is optimistic he will return to the lineup soon.
"I told them I would like to not go on the DL," he stated in his first public comments since the surgery. Jon Jay and Allen Craig will hold down the fort in LF for the Cardinals. Jay's emergence last season allowed St. Louis to trade Ryan Ludwick to pick up right-handed starter Jake Westbrook at the trade deadline last season—and Craig has been a very successful hitter in Triple-A Memphis the past few years.
Losing Holliday is a cause of concern for Cardinals fans, but given what they know about who the Rays have to replace Longoria, it doesn't seem so bad.