Holliday out of lineup with oblique strain
National League MVP candidate available to pinch-hit
SAN DIEGO -- In a season of overcoming injuries to major players, the Rockies find themselves trying to overcome their biggest injury yet. National League Most Valuable Player candidate Matt Holliday was held out of the lineup Saturday against the Padres because of a strained left oblique muscle.
The Rockies, who entered Saturday's game 3 1/2 games behind the Padres in the NL Wild Card race, started Ryan Spilborghs in left field. Manager Clint Hurdle said Holliday would be available to pinch-hit, but Holliday said he hopes to play Sunday after rest and medication. But he said he has not taken a painkilling shot and doesn't know if such a move is in the plan.
"You've got to do what's best for the team," Holliday said. "If I can't swing right, I'd rather have somebody out there helping. Plus, if I go out there and blow it up, I'll miss the rest of the season. If I can take a day off and be able to play the rest of the games, it's worth it.
Holliday said he has been undergoing treatment for "four or five days." That's remarkable, considering that he had hit 11 home runs in 12 games before Friday night, when he went 0-for-5 with a walk Friday night in the Rockies' 2-1, 14-inning victory over the Padres.
But Holliday's swing appeared truncated when he struck out in the 11th against Padres reliever Heath Bell. He was removed in a double switch after a fly ball in his last at-bat, in the top of the 13th.
Holliday entered Saturday's action second in the NL with a .337 batting average and leads the league in RBIs with 131, hits with 205, extra-base hits with 89, doubles with 48 and total bases with 371. He also is fourth in home runs with a career-high 36.
Holliday joins a stunning Rockies injury list.
Three-fifths of the starting rotation is on the 60-day disabled list. Rodrigo Lopez underwent right elbow surgery to repair the flexor tendon, Aaron Cook is out with an oblique strain and Jason Hirsh has a fractured fibula. The right-handers threw their last pitches of the season between July 26 and Aug. 10.
Additionally, center fielder and leadoff man Willy Taveras suffered a right quadriceps injury on Sept. 8 and is done for the year. He had been on the disabled list Aug. 15-31 with the same injury. Friday was the second start for second baseman Kazuo Matsui since suffering a right hamstring injury in the same inning that Taveras was hurt.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.