The deed to one of baseball's most prestigious spots has officially transferred.

Matt Holliday, the Cardinals' cleanup hitter for most of the last 2½ seasons, will assume the No. 3 spot in the defending world champions' batting order from the man he was acquired to protect in July 2009.

Manager Mike Matheny acknowledged the inheritance before Monday's split squad loss against the Washington Nationals. Holliday, Monday's designated hitter, said that he hadn't heard about the designation from Matheny and hadn't really given it much thought but was fine with the shift.

"It's not like I'm emotionally attached to hitting third. That's not it. But I've done it before. I like hitting there. And if you look at my career, I've had success hitting there," Holliday said.