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

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured Columnist

Apr 13, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (4) spits sunflower seeds in the dugout during the game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Yadier Molina is the driving force of the St. Louis Cardinals, but the star catcher's season was put in jeopardy when he tore a ligament in his thumb.

However, MLB Lineups showed Molina will start Game 1 of the National League Division Series and bat seventh against the Chicago Cubs.

Aside from the thumb injury, this season was the healthiest Molina has been in two years, though his offensive numbers have taken a dip. His .660 OPS was his worst since 2006, but the 33-year-old still ranks as one of the best defensive catchers by FanGraphs' metrics.

Molina left a game against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 24 after taking a foul tip off his right knee protector. Those kinds of nicks and dings come with the territory for catchers, but the dynamic of St. Louis' roster is significantly altered in the absence of his backstop wizardry.

The Cardinals haven't missed a beat this season, despite a lot of injuries to key players. Adam Wainwright didn't start a game after April 2, only recently returning in a bullpen role; Jordan Walden is on the 60-day disabled list; Matt Adams missed three months; Matt Holliday and Jon Jay played in fewer than 100 games; and Randal Grichuk's stellar rookie season was interrupted by an elbow injury in August.

St. Louis' front office has done a masterful job of building a deep, talented roster to not only withstand all of those blows, but continue to thrive.

Getting Molina back in time for a World Series push may prove to be instrumental to the Cardinals' fate.

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