ST. LOUIS -- Two weeks after he first experienced discomfort in his left quadriceps, Matt Holliday is expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Wednesday afternoon that it's not a certainty that Holliday will be shelved, but spoke very much as if it's a done deal.
The Cards hope and expect that Holliday will need only the minimum 15 days before he can return. Neither Mozeliak nor manager Tony La Russa would divulge who will take Holliday's roster spot, or even whether it would be a hitter or a pitcher. Mozeliak acknowledged that it's possible that the addition could be a player not currently on the 40-man roster.
Holliday first felt something amiss in his leg in a May 18 win against the Astros. He played the following weekend as the team's designated hitter in Kansas City, but aggravated the condition in the May 22 series finale against the Royals. He didn't start again for the next week before returning to the lineup Monday night against San Francisco. He was then scratched from Tuesday's game shortly before it started with a recurrence of the condition.
"We were aggressive," Mozeliak said. "We tried. And he still wasn't getting to the point where we're comfortable with just letting him continue to go through this same pattern. So now we'll give him a few days, try to calm it down, and we're very optimistic that after 15 days, he'll be ready to go.
"Nothing's changed, and frankly it looks like it's getting better, but it's still something he feels. And rather than push it as we sit here on June 1, it just doesn't make a lot of sense. Conservative treatment we will now try, after we tried to be aggressive. It's still something that he notices, and it's just not going away."
Allen Craig and Jon Jay will likely split time in left field during Holliday's absence. Lance Berkman slides into Holliday's customary No. 4 spot in the St. Louis batting order.
McClellan to rest hip injury on disabled list
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals had little trouble choosing caution over bravado when it came to starting pitcher Kyle McClellan. The right-hander will go on the 15-day disabled list Thursday, retroactive to Tuesday, as a result of a strained left hip flexor.
To take McClellan's place on the roster, the Cards will purchase the contract of right-hander Lance Lynn from Triple-A Memphis. Lynn will make his Major League debut Thursday, on three days' rest. The club hopes that McClellan will only miss the minimum 15 days with the injury, which he incurred in Monday's loss to the Giants.
"It's definitely the right thing to do," McClellan said. "The way I've [had it] explained it's kind of like a pulled hamstring -- if you don't give it enough time, it's going to keep occurring. There's two different things -- there's the strain and there's the swelling. So you have to pretty much right now let the swelling go down and then try to strengthen everything around the strain."
Lynn, 24, is the organization's most advanced pitching prospect and is in his second full season at Triple-A Memphis. He's 5-3 with a 4.06 ERA, 54 strikeouts and 21 walks on the year. Lynn was a supplemental first-round selection in the 2008 Draft.
"Everything's positive on [Lynn's performance this year]," general manager John Mozeliak said. "We wouldn't make the move, wouldn't bring him up if it wasn't positive."
Lynn will be pitching on short rest. His most recent start was Sunday at home against Omaha. He allowed four runs on seven hits in seven innings, striking out six against one walk. He threw 101 pitches. With an off-day Monday for the Cardinals, it's possible that Thursday will be a one-shot deal for Lynn. Neither Mozeliak nor manager Tony La Russa would commit to anything more extensive.
However long he's up, Lynn will not have an easy time replicating what McClellan has offered thus far. In his first season as a starter, McClellan has been very effective. He's turned in quality starts (six innings or more, three earned runs or fewer) in seven of his 11 starts. He had a 3.11 ERA before his last start, in which he allowed seven runs after incurring the injury.
It's McClellan's first year as a starter, so the club believes that there is some silver lining to McClellan's injury. Mozeliak said that at some point during the summer the club likely would have given McClellan a rest to keep his innings down anyway.
Lights failure delays final pitch for 16 minutes
ST. LOUIS -- All that for one pitch.
The Cardinals and Giants waited out a 16-minute delay during their Wednesday night game at Busch Stadium due to a problem with a light tower on the first-base line, then returned to play for a grand total of one pitch. Allen Craig grounded out against Brian Wilson, finishing off a game that lasted three hours, 44 minutes even without the delay.
"I've had some pretty interesting innings before, but that's at the top of the charts," Wilson said.
With two outs and a runner on first, and a 2-1 count to Craig, two banks of lights went out along the right-field side of the five-year-old ballpark. Umpire crew chief Tim Welke determined that play needed to be halted, and for 16 minutes the two teams waited as the lights gradually came back to life. Upon the return to action, Craig swung at the first pitch from Wilson and grounded out to second base, ending the 7-5 Giants victory.
"They all asked me if I could see," Craig said. "And I just went, 'That's not my decision.' I'm not going to say I can and go ahead and play the game. It wasn't my decision."
Most of those involved kept their good humor, with a little aid from the St. Louis public address crew. Journey's hit "Lights" played over the speakers at one point during the delay, which lasted from 10:59-11:15 p.m. CT.
"It kind of felt like coming in in the eighth inning, sitting down and going back out there," Wilson said.
Nick Stavinoha went 3-for-5 with a home run and five RBIs for Triple-A Memphis in a 10-4 win over Albuquerque on Tuesday.
Double-A Springfield was off Tuesday.
Joe Kelly took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning for the second straight start as Class A Palm Beach beat Dunedin, 3-1. D'Marcus Ingram and Niko Vasquez homered in support of Kelly.
Carlos Martinez allowed two runs on two hits over five innings, striking out six and walking three, but received no decision in Class A Quad Cities' 5-4 win against West Michigan.
Kelly takes home player of the day honors for his strong showing. The right-hander allowed one hit in 7 2/3 innings, striking out nine while walking five. Kelly, 22, is 3-2 with a 2.67 ERA for Palm Beach this year, with 45 strikeouts and 25 walks in 54 innings. He was a third-round pick in the 2009 Draft.
Manager Tony La Russa said that Nick Punto's recovery from a right forearm flexor strain has been "slow" and that Punto is not yet able to throw. "That's a big hit," La Russa said, "but we're playing around it."
Right-hander Bryan Augenstein, who is recovering from a right groin strain, has reported to Florida to pitch in extended spring training.
Sunday's Cardinals-Cubs game will be carried on TBS. It's the first Cardinals game the network has picked up this year. It will be the sixth straight game, starting with Tuesday night's game against San Francisco, to be carried on a national network (FOX, ESPN, MLB Network or TBS).
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer, and follow him on Twitter @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.