After spending the vast majority of his career in the National League, Matt Holliday finds himself, at 37, playing for the New York Yankees. You know what that means: a lot of DH’ing.
But Holliday, a seven-time All-Star, is adjusting just fine.
“The good thing is with inter-league play the last couple years, Mike Matheny had given me a lot of the designated-hitter starts,” Holliday said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I had done it at least three or four days in a row, so I had kind of a routine that I had kind of worked out, just kind of moving around, make sure you stay loose, try to take a sweat into the batter’s box so you feel like you’re in the game. At least I had that experience, and I pretty much did it the whole spring, so I had a whole month of spring training to kind of feel it. There’s kind of a balance of taking too many swings and not enough, just making sure you’re swinging and loose and ready to go in there and compete. Trying to find that right balance so you’re not taking too many hacks and then at the same being ready to play – it’s going pretty well. I felt good about it in spring training, and so far, so good.”
Holliday is hitting .364 with one homer, five RBIs and a .533 OBP through seven games for the Yankees (3-4). He walked five times in a 7-3 win over Baltimore on Sunday.
“The idea as a hitter is to get a good pitch to hit,” Holliday said. “I felt good about it, and a lot of them were close pitches. They were balls. So yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever walked four times, never-mind five. So five good at-bats is really what I take away from it. Five times I got on base. And the last time, (Jacoby) Ellsbury pinch-runs, steals second base and (scores the game-winning run). So while it doesn’t feel like I did much that day, I do feel like it was five quality at-bats, and I felt good about not swinging at bad pitches, getting in good hitters’ counts and then battling. I feel good about it.”
Interestingly, Holliday will face his former team, St. Louis, this weekend. The Cardinals (2-5) play a three-game set in the Bronx beginning Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET.
“Yeah, I think it’ll be strange,” said Holliday, who played for the Cardinals from 2009-2016 and helped the franchise to a World Series championship in 2011. “There will be that initial sort of semi-weird kind of feeling. The thing that’ll be the strangest to me is that Adam Wainwright is slated to pitch against us.”
Indeed, Wainwright, (0-2, 7.00 ERA) is scheduled to pitch against Michael Pineda (1-1, 3.97) on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET.
“Being one of my best friends in all the world, I’m going to have to face him – and that will be strange just because we’ve spent so many hours and years together talking strategy and talking about baseball,” Holliday said. “To look out there and to look at that mean mug he’s got out there when he’s pitching, I think, will be the strangest part for me and kind of turn the page on our friendship a little bit and compete against each other (with) the bragging rights on the line, so to speak. But I’m excited to see them. I saw some of them in spring training. We had an overlap day-night game at the same facility, so I saw some of them. But yeah, you spend that much of your time and your life in one spot and you compete against them this quickly, it’s weird. It’ll be strange, but once the game starts, it’s all about competition.”