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Matheny not a fan of players sliding headfirst

ST. LOUIS -- While there was plenty of jubilation with the result of Matt Holliday's timely headfirst slide into first base on Thursday, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny offered a more candid assessment of that strategy when asked about it a day later.

"It's not something we're teaching, that's for sure," Matheny said. "I think a lot of baseball people would say the same thing."

Holliday slid into first in the eighth inning of Thursday's 3-2 win against the Brewers. He was originally ruled out on the play, but the call was overturned after the Cardinals challenged. St. Louis would go on to tie the game in the inning, and the Cards would win in the 13th.

It has long been acknowledged that the quickest way to reach first base is for a player to run through it. Instincts, however, sometimes get in the way of the facts, which was the case with Holliday on Thursday. In this instance, he was fortunate that a slide didn't cost him a safe call.

"I wasn't thinking about it. I just did it," Holliday said. "It worked out, thankfully. I would have questioned myself if it was faster to run through it, if I would have been out."

While emphasizing that he's not an advocate for the slide, Matheny also expressed hesitation in trying to completely teach it out of players. Why? He suggested that messing with instincts could lead to in-the-moment hesitation, which could increase the chances for injury.

In the meantime, however, he hopes to see his players stay on their feet.

"I don't want to necessarily see him do that again, or anybody else, because when you do that, there are a lot of things that could go bad," Matheny said. "We've never seen Matt do that before and I doubt we'll ever see him do it again. That was something that he felt he needed to do."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB.
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