Yadier Molina Injury: Updates on Cardinals Star's Thumb Sprain and Return

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Yadier Molina Injury: Updates on Cardinals Star's Thumb Sprain and Return
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Updates from Friday, July 11

CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports the Cardinals plan with Molina out:

Updates from Thursday, July 10

The St. Louis Cardinals provide details on Yadier Molina's thumb injury:

StLSportsPage.com's Rob Rains previously reported the disappointing update on Molina:

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak also spoke about Molina following the announcement (via Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com):

"It's unfortunate," Mozeliak said. "Obviously, when you lose a player of his skill set and leadership, it's tough. But the game doesn't stop and we'll keep going."

Molina also spoke about how he felt when he got the news (via Langosch):


Jerry Crasnick of ESPN weighed in on St. Louis' potential options:

Original Text

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina exited Wednesday night's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the third inning after suffering a right thumb sprain while sliding hard into third base on an Allen Craig groundout. The team announced he will be re-evaluated Thursday before a course of treatment is decided upon:

USA Today's Bob Nightengale had more after the game:

Molina, 31, appeared to jam his hand into the base during the second inning and came up wincing in obvious pain, though he stayed in the game for the defensive half of the third inning. Manager Mike Matheny and the training staff decided to pinch hit Tony Cruz for him in the bottom of the frame.

It will be interesting to see how St. Louis chooses to deal with the injury in the interim. The Cardinals have one game remaining in this series with Pittsburgh before going on the road for three against Milwaukee prior to the All-Star break. Given the inordinately high risk catchers take with their throwing hands on a pitch-by-pitch basis, Molina might be held out longer than a regular position player with a similar injury.

David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Voted in as a National League starter, Molina's injury may complicate his status on the team. He and the Cardinals will not have much time before they need to make a decision, because a replacement will need to be named immediately. Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy could be a beneficiary of Molina's absence, as he would likely move into the starting lineup.

Of course, the Cardinals are much more concerned about the potential length of Molina's absence than anything. The six-time All-Star and six-time Gold Glove winner is hitting .287/.341/.409 with seven home runs and 30 RBI while appearing in 83 games. Viewed as perhaps baseball's best two-way catcher, Molina's steadying hand with the pitching staff is as important—if not more so—than his bat.

"He looks like a shortstop behind the plate," Yankees catcher Brian McCann told Tyler Kepner of The New York Times in April. "He makes it look so easy, and it's so hard. Every time I play against him, I watch him closely."

The Cardinals currently rank among MLB's 10 best teams in ERA, WHIP and batting average against. Until the last few seasons, Molina's defensive contributions have far outweighed his offensive output. Beginning with his breakout 2012 campaign, though, Molina emerged as perhaps St. Louis' most important player on the roster.

With the Cardinals currently in the thick of a deep NL wild-card race, they hope the prognosis will be positive. Even if it costs him an All-Star Game berth.

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.

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