The St. Louis Cardinals announced that Yadier Molina has a tear in his left thumb and they are optimistic he will return before the regular season ends. He injured it when tagging out Anthony Rizzo at home plate as the potential tying run in Sunday’s game. Jason Heyward made a strong throw home to keep the tying run from scoring, but the team with the best record in baseball is receiving a massive blow with Molina’s injury.
Mozeliak, “Molina has a slight torn ligament in his left thumb. We’re optimistic he’ll return this regular season.” pic.twitter.com/Fzji6y9och
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 21, 2015
Here’s the play when Molina tore a ligament in his left thumb via MLB:
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote in his post-game piece that Molina was in pain, but had to wait until the next day to know the extent of the injury. He mentioned that he had trouble gripping a bat. Manager Mike Matheny said he was “concerned” and that they’ll “get the doctors to look at it and see.”
Molina, 33, is a huge part the Cardinals success and has been for a decade. He missed two games in the 2014 NLCS against the Giants and wound up losing in five games. He is struggling at the plate this season, hitting .270/.310/.350 with 80 wRC+, but his defense is still considered elite. He ranks third among catchers in FanGraphs defensive value, top ten in pitch framing and might be the best game caller in the big leagues.
What does his potential loss mean to St. Louis? It means that Tony Cruz will be the everyday catcher even though he has a negative-0.8 fWAR; lowest on the team. The team’s run prevention is similar with Cruz catching this season, but sample size is much smaller and Cruz has a strong arm.
Also, the Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said that Adam Wainwright was cleared for baseball activities and that he will try to be a reliever for them this season.
The Cardinals sit at 93-56, four games up in the division and already clinched a playoff berth.