PHOENIX -- Overall, there's no sugarcoating the Cardinals' hitting on their just-completed homestand. It wasn't very good. But those inclined to look for positive signs surely could find a few in Sunday's getaway game, providing some cause for optimism as the club began a six-game western swing.
The biggest is Matt Holliday, who snapped a career-long 0-for-16 slide with a big game on Sunday night. Holliday had three hits and a walk, coinciding with the beginning of a return to health. The slugger is still feeling somewhat less than his best after battling a flu-like illness for much of the last week, but he's been getting better for the past couple of days. It's likely no coincidence then that he has started hitting.
"I did some extra stuff in the cage and felt like I was able to take it out on the field," Holliday said on Sunday night.
Likewise, Colby Rasmus ended a lengthy 0-fer with a three-run homer on Sunday. And Brendan Ryan, who started the season 2-for-25, went 4-for-10 in the last two games of the homestand.
"It definitely helped me to sleep better at night," Ryan said. "Along with [the results], I've also felt better."
Anderson to get first start Tuesday
PHOENIX -- Bryan Anderson is scheduled to get his first Major League start on Tuesday, six days after he was added to the Major League roster.
Anderson, 23, has appeared in two games since his recall from Triple-A Memphis, but he has yet to catch a pitch in a game. On Tuesday, he will start in place of Yadier Molina. Regular backup catcher Jason LaRue is on the disabled list due to a strained right hamstring.
"I think right now, the plan is [Molina] gets off tomorrow," manager Tony La Russa said.
Anderson, long known as an offensively gifted catcher with an iffy glove, has drawn praise for his defensive improvements this spring and early season. He got off to a hot start with the bat at Memphis as well, though he's 0-for-2 in the early going of his big league career.
"It's important that he reestablish himself as a top prospect," general manager John Mozeliak said. "Remember, he's 23. He's still very young."
Cards keeping tabs on Jay
PHOENIX -- Outfielder Jon Jay's hot start at Triple-A Memphis has not gone unnoticed within the Cardinals' organization. That doesn't mean he's on the next plane to join the team, but he's at least on the club's radar.
Jay, 25, entered Monday's game batting .362 with a .412 on-base percentage and a .596 slugging percentage for Memphis. He's a left-handed hitter, and the Cardinals don't currently have any of those on their bench -- save for switch-hitter Felipe Lopez. Meanwhile, playing time has been scarce for right-handed hitters Allen Craig, Joe Mather and Nick Stavinoha -- especially Stavinoha, who entered Monday's game with seven plate appearances.
"I think it's flexible or fluid," general manager John Mozeliak said when asked about his team's bench. "One thing that we think about when looking at it is playing time. At some point, if we feel we're just not getting enough at-bats for somebody here, it may make sense to switch."
PHOENIX -- Manager Tony La Russa said that catcher Jason LaRue should be ready to be activated at the beginning of next week, as soon as he is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list. LaRue will join the club in San Francisco. ... Cardinals starters have gone six consecutive games with at least seven innings pitched and no more than two earned runs allowed, their longest such streak since June 13-18, 1986. ... According to Retrosheet.com, La Russa has used more position players as pitchers than any manager since 1950. ... Monday night's starter, Brad Penny, was drafted by the D-backs in 1996 and came up through their system, but he was traded in '99 to Florida, where he made his Major League debut.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.