Molina out 8-to-12 weeks with thumb injury
Yadier Molina will miss the next 8-to-12 weeks after suffering a ligament tear in his right thumb, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak announced on Thursday.
An MRI taken after Molina exited Wednesday’s game in the third inning revealed the seriousness of the injury, which comes just as the Cardinals are making a push toward the top of the National League Central. The timing of it will also keep Molina out of the All-Star Game, which he was slated to start after winning the fan vote.
Molina is scheduled to undergo surgery on Friday.
“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 injured his thumb in the second inning of Wednesday’s 5-2 win while grabbing third base as he popped up following a feet-first slide. He remained in the game to catch the next half inning before being replaced by Tony Cruz.
Cruz will become the Cardinals’ primary catcher in Molina’s absence, with Audry Perez ready to back him up. Perez, already on the 40-man roster, was recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Thursday. He hit .288/.288/.383 with 10 doubles, two homers and 21 RBIs in 44 games.
Perez was a September call-up by the Cardinals last season and briefly appeared in two games.
Mozeliak acknowledged that he will scour the market for available catchers, too, to see if an addition makes sense between now and the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
“I think from a standpoint of trying to replace him, that’s not even a logical question,” Mozeliak said. “What you’re doing is we need to find a stopgap. We have a lot of confidence in Cruz, that’s why he is our backup. Now he’s going to get an opportunity to play every day. But in the meantime, we’re also going to look out and see if there is something in that can help balance it out in the short term.”
Molina, who has started each of the team’s last 14 games, was batting .287/.341/.409 with 16 doubles, seven homers and 30 RBIs through 83 games. The six-time Gold Glove Award winner also leads the Majors with a caught-stealing percentage of 49.
The work he does behind the plate, along with his middle-of-the-order bat, has made Molina one of the most indispensable pieces on this team. He has finished in the Top 4 in MVP voting each of the last two seasons. He has been on the disabled list just once since 2008, that coming last season when he was slowed by a sprained right knee. Molina missed the minimum 15 games before returning.
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