The St. Louis Cardinals have just announced that their star catcher Yadier Molina will be out for the next 8-12 weeks, which is virtually until the end of the season.
Molina tore a ligament in his right thumb after, oddly enough, a foot first slide into third base during the second inning of Wednesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Apparently, he planted his hand to balance himself after the slide. Molina caught the next half an inning before being removed from the game.
He had a MRI on Wednesday night and is scheduled to have surgery to repair the ligament damage on Friday. Molina is one of baseball’s most durable and talented catchers. This is really some kind of freak accident that is now going to keep the All-Star out for most of the rest of the 2014 season.
This season Molina has appeared in 83 games and had 335 plate appearances. From 2011-2013 he hit .313 and he has only been on the disabled list once since 2007. A career Cardinal he made his MLB debut for St. Louis in 2004.
Molina was just elected to start what would have been his sixth straight All-Star game, his fourth time as a starter. He was batting .287 with seven home runs and 30 RBI. He is the youngest of the three Molina brothers, all of them catchers. His brother Bengie Molina retired from baseball after the 2010 season. His other brother Jose Molina, who is nearing the end of his career at the age of 39, still plays for the Tampa Bay Rays and has one year left on his contract. Yadier has always been considered the most talented of the three.
His absence will be a blow to the Cardinals both offensively and defensively. Molina has won six straight Gold Glove awards, is leading the league in runners caught stealing and has a big presence in the middle of the Cardinals order.
St. Louis comes into Thursday with a 50-42 record, tied for the second wild card spot.