Holliday, moments before the appendectomy caught up with him.
The 2011 baseball season is exactly one game old. So far, here's the good news: David Freese's
ankles have yet to catch on fire, Colby Rasmus
looked good in game one, and Albert Pujols
should be significantly more affordable after a season in which he sets a new MLB record by grounding into 480 double plays.
The bad news? Well, the bad news is kind of tough to list here. After all, the internet does have limited storage capacity. The performance of the middle infield on Opening Day alone would eat up half the world's bandwidth.
You can add one more piece of bad news to the pile. Matt Holliday, slugger and left fielder par excellence, had surgery Friday afternoon to remove his appendix. He's currently listed as out indefinitely, but typical recovery time for this is in the 2-5 week range.
Honestly, I'm kind of hoping Jason Lee
shows up with a horseshoe mustache and a list pretty soon, because otherwise I'm just not sure how this Cardinal team is going to survive what is clearly a case of karma gone horribly, horribly wrong. What the Cards did exactly that was so wrong I'm not sure, but you would have thought losing Adam Wainwright for the season would have balanced the cosmic scales no matter how awful the deed.
The good news, if there is any to be had, is that while Holliday will likely be out for the better part of a month, this isn't usually the kind of injury that lingers. He may need a quick stint in the minors on a rehab assignment to get his timing back, but at least appendicitis can't really recur. So take that comfort for whatever it may be worth.
Actually, there is potentially another bit of good news which could come out of all this. If we're ever going to see Allen Craig get an extended opportunity to prove he can hit at the major league level, this just might be it. We already have a pretty good idea what Jon Jay is capable of, and his skillset seems well suited for a fourth outfielder. Craig, though, has struggled to translate his minor league success with the bat in limited playing time with the Cards. He's most likely first in line now to take the lion's share of the at-bats Holliday won't be taking. If Craig can prove his bat can play at the major league level, there's a right field job in 2012 that just might have his name on it.
For now, the Cards will just have to make do without another of their cornerstone players on the field. The only worry I have in this whole thing would be stubbornness on the part of the club (and the player), to just bite the bullet and put Holliday on the shelf. You certainly hope they're smart enough not to think they could get by without DLing him, but I've seen stranger handling on injuries by this club. Eduardo Perez was pinch-hitting a week after having an appendectomy in 2003. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), Perez played for the Cardinals and Tony La Russa that year.
Hopefully we don't see the Cards think they can chance it with Holliday and try to take the same approach here. Just stick him on the shelf and give him the time to heal up properly. This karmic demolition derby of a season will still be here when he gets back.