Team leader and potential MVP candidate Yadier Molina was activated off the disabled list prior to the St. Louis Cardinals game this afternoon against Pittsburgh. Molina had been sidelined for the past two weeks due to inflammation in his right knee. In an effort to keep him healthy over the remainder of the season, Jennifer Langosch and Chad Thornburg at MLB.com are reporting that the team has a plan in place to give Molina regular scheduled rest. They went just 6-8 in his absence.
Molina wasted little time making an impact upon his return. Starling Marte started off the game with a double, but remained at second through the next two batters. Marte then attempted to steal third, but a rested Molina gunned him down with ease to end the inning.
The 31 year old has hit .330/.374/.479 in 390 PA this year, good enough for second in the NL batting race (just seven points behind Atlanta’s Chris Johnson, who’s hitting .337). Pitchers have maintained a 3.26 ERA pitching to him on the year and he’s one of the top defensive catchers in baseball. A certain boost for a Cardinals team trying to catch the Pirates in the standings.
Rob Johnson and Tony Cruz shared most of the catching duties with Molina on the DL. Neither has ever been able to produce enough to warrant a starting job, but they held their own in that stretch. Cruz was reportedly playing with a stress fracture in his right forearm, as he moved to the DL in order to make space for Molina on the active roster. He’s expected to return when rosters expand in September.