- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 23, 2011

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The moth that forced Matt Holliday from the outfield is done causing mischief. What remained of the offending bug was tucked inside a sandwich bag, perfect for TV cameras and for the St. Louis Cardinals‘ star to show it off around the clubhouse.

“He died overflowed of wisdom being inside my head,” Holliday joked Tuesday, a day after the insect flew deep inside his right ear during in the eighth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Midges, mosquitoes and grasshoppers have pestered players in the past. But this latest call of the wild was something even manager Tony La Russa couldn’t remember seeing before.

“That’s a weird one,” La Russa said. “And it was in there deep, too.”

Holliday stayed in the game for a few more pitches hoping to shake the moth loose. It was in there about 10 minutes, the buzz more annoying than the pain, before a team of three _ two trainers and the team physician _ participated in the extraction.

First, they tried turning off all the lights, hoping the moth would fly out on its own. Then, out came the tweezers for a sizable bug.

“It didn’t go through?” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly joked.

In the end, it was just a minor annoyance. Holliday was back in the lineup Tuesday night, and without wearing mosquito netting around his hat in left field.

“I’ll probably wear some kind of ear muff, I guess,” he said. “If that’s available in Cardinal red. Get the bird on the bat put on there.”

Incidents with larger animals on the field are more common. La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation began with a stray cat at a stadium.

A bug so powerful it disrupts the game is another story.

“Never seen anybody come off the field with a moth in his ear,” Cardinals backup catcher Gerald Laird said. “Definitely a first.”

A playoff game in 2007 in Cleveland will be forever remembered not for heroics on the field but for an attack of midges, close cousins of mosquitoes who don’t bite but can create quite a nuisance. Making their way from Lake Erie, they made life miserable for Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain.

The rookie reliever was sprayed with insect repellant before taking the mound in the eighth inning, and yet was covered with bugs on his neck and back while squandering a 1-0 lead. Infielders waved their arms and caps to buy a little space, and shortstop Derek Jeter said it was as if the bugs had been released.

“It was tougher on Joba than anybody,” catcher Jorge Posada said. “After the fact, we heard that OFF made it worse.”

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