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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cardinals Injury Update: Yadier Molina to have cortisone shot for oblique

By on 10/15/2014 07:45:00 AM

With the Cardinals down 2-1 to the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS, All-Star catcher Yadier Molina will attempt a return to action (at the very least as a defensive replacement) and will receive a cortisone shot for his injured oblique, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.  A.J. Pierzynski caught Game 3 of the NLDS, but Molina was spotted in the bullpen warming up reliever Trevor Rosenthal.

Molina has expressed optimism that he will be able to "contribute," and said that he can throw without discomfort. He has not, however, taken batting practice.

In  addition to Molina and Pierzynski, the Cardinals are also carrying backup catcher Tony Cruz.  The presence of three catchers on the roster has limited their bench, but dropping the injured Molina would make him unavailable for the rest of the NLCS and the World Series, should the Cardinals make it that far.  There is no scheduled off-day for the series until Friday.

Neither Cruz nor Pierzynski is an attractive option for the Cards. When Cruz replaced Molina in Game 2 he allowed a runner to score from second on a wild pitch. Pierzynski, 37, is generally considered a poor defensive catcher and hit only .244/.295/.305 (OPS+ 69) in 30 games this year. Cruz provided even less at the plate, .200/.270/.259 (OPS+ 49) in 50 games. 

Molina was out for 40 games from July 10 to August 29 with a torn ligament in his thumb, during which period the Cardinals hitting, pitching and caught-stealing all suffered. Six times an All-Star, winner of six Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger and two World Series rings (2006 and 2011) Molina hit .282/.333/.386 (OPS+ 101) with seven homers and 38 RBI during the 2014 regular season (110 games). In the postseason he went 5 for 21 (.238).
For his career, Molina has hit  .284/.339/.402 (OPS+ 99) but is more valued for his defense, play calling and management of the pitchers. Now in his 11th season, all with the Cardinals, the 31-year-old Molina was drafted in 2000 (4th round) and made his debut June 3, 2004. The brother of two other major-league catchers, Bengie Molina (retired) and Jose Molina, Yadier is signed to a ten-year $96.5 million contract that takes him though 2017 with a team option for 2018.

  (Rose Ingberman) and read her blog Lady and the Nats
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