Matt Holliday could return soon

ST. LOUIS -- Matt Holliday had been having stomach pains for several days before undergoing an appendectomy last week. He also told the St. Louis Cardinals he didn't need to go on the 15-day disabled list.

"I told them I'd like to not go on the DL," Holliday said Monday. "That I think I can play."

The Cardinals were set to play a man short for the third straight game Monday night against Pittsburgh, but could have their cleanup hitter back by the weekend. Three days after the surgery, Holliday said he was feeling better each day.

St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said he had no new timetable on Holliday, adding that the All-Star slugger was "taking it easy."

Lance Berkman batted cleanup for the second consecutive game and Allen Craig played left field in place of Holliday, who had three hits, including a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning, in the season-opening loss to San Diego on Thursday.

Holliday expects to travel with the team, which begins a 10-game West Coast trip on Friday. He scheduled a doctor's appointment for last Friday, a day off.

"It was a little more than a regular stomach ache. I'd been having it for at least a week," Holliday said. "For peace of mind I kind of wanted to get tested."

The doctor's appointment was at 9 a.m. Friday and Holliday said the surgery was quickly scheduled for 9:45, although it wasn't deemed an emergency. Because Holliday had just enough time to eat a little food prior to the diagnosis, the operation was rescheduled for 4 p.m and Holliday spent the night in the hospital.

La Russa went back to a conventional lineup Monday with pitcher Kyle Lohse batting ninth, a day after Jaime Garcia hit eighth while throwing a four-hitter to beat the Padres 2-0.