The St. Louis Cardinals have announced that catcher Yadier Molina will miss the next 8 to 12 weeks with a torn thumb ligament. The All Star injured the thumb while sliding into third base in the second inning last night; he stayed in the game and caught another inning before being pulled for back up Tony Cruz.
The Cardinals are recalling Audry Perez to back up Cruz.
The Cardinals offense is already struggling and Molina was one of the brighter spots; he was third on the team in average (.287), third in hits (87), and tied for third in homers (7). More importantly, he’s the key to the pitching staff; the young pitchers rely on Yadi to call pitches and keep them cool.
The team will investigate available catchers, including recently release John Buck and A.J. Pierzynski. Neither are compelling options though.
Buck struggled to hit in Seattle as the back up to Mike Zunino; he slashed .226/.293/.286 in 92 plate appearances. Buck, who does have some power, is considered a good clubhouse guy and popular among teammates. They’ll be able to sign him to the major league minimum if this is the route they go.
Pierzynski was considered a clubhouse cancer and even had teammates go to management requesting something to be done; there were also complaints he didn’t work well with young pitchers, which is a concern for the Cardinals. Pierzynski was considered a stop gap in Boston after they let Jarrod Saltalamacchia walk in the off-season; Christian Vazquez was not ready at the beginning of the season. He hit .254/.286/.348 in 274 plate appearances.
Trade candidates could include Kurt Suzuki (Minnesota), John Jaso (Athletics), and Yasmani Grandal (Padres).