With their backs up against the wall in a win-or-go-home mindset, the St. Louis Cardinals will be without catcher Yadier Molina in their starting lineup in game four against the Chicago Cubs.
Molina has been dealing with a thumb issue and was taken out of game three on Monday night after experiencing weakness in his thumb. He has been wearing a brace on his hand to deal with the pain, but it was too much to handle it seems.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny had penciled him into the lineup, as he expected him to respond well to the overnight treatment on his left thumb, but as was apparent in Monday’s game, it remains an issue for Molina.
“As we left last night, the conversation I had with Yadi was, let’s wait and see how things progress overnight,” Matheny said. “Some of the treatment and some of the things doctors were able to do would allow him to be in there. We are most likely going to have Yadier Molina in the lineup. So, (we) went in with the idea he was penciled in, and we would wait and see this morning.”
According to Matheny, Molina still had “considerable weakness in his thumb” which prompted the lineup change.
During Molina’s fourth inning at bat, he swung at a pitch and winced in pain as he completed the swing with just his right hand holding on to the bat. Because of that, he was pinch hit for by Brandon Moss in the sixth inning.
“He (Molina) can still come in and catch,” Matheny said. “Catching isn’t the issue. With the splint he has, catching-wise, he’s able to come in there. If something happened in the game, and we needed a catcher to come in, it would be Yadi, and we would be all right with that. As everybody saw, it was the swing that got him.”
The Cubs also have an injury that they are dealing with as everyday starting shortstop Addison Russell will not be in the starting lineup. He is dealing with hamstring tightness. Russell was removed from the game after legging out a triple in game three on Monday.