The St. Louis Ccardinals could have their All-Star catcher back behind the plate by Friday. This could be huge for the team as Yadier Molina is not only arguably the league’s best catcher, both offensively and defensively, but an important presence for the Cards on and off the field.
He could be returning alongside young but talented pitcher Michael Wacha. Both players reported to Double-A Springfield Tuesday for workouts. Molina is scheduled to be in the lineup for Springfield tonight. Wacha is expected to be facing batters by this weekend.
Molina, 31, was injured on July 9 in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He tore a ligament in his right thumb while sliding into third base. The injury required surgery and Molina was expected to be out for two or three months. Although it appears he is ahead of schedule.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheney called it a good “possibility” that Molina could be activated on Friday in time to be able to start a home stand against the Chicago Cubs this weekend.
Molina,who has been elected to six straight All-Star games and has won six straight Gold Glove Awards, was batting .287 with seven home runs and 30 RBI in 83 when he was injured.
Wacha has been sidelined by a shoulder injury since June. The 23-year old was named MVP of last season’s National League Championship Series. The rookie showed a great amount of poise and potential throughout last October even though the Cardinals went on to lose the World Series to the Boston Red Sox.
He finished the year with a 2.78 ERA and went 4-1 with a 2.64 ERA in 5 postseason starts. In 15 starts this season Wacha went 5-5 with a 2.79 ERA in 2014 prior to his stint on the disabled list
The return of both players could be a spark for the Cardinals to charge through September and take the division away from the first place Milwaukee Brewers. One is just a kid and the other is veteran award winner but both players could provide the Cards with enough extra talent to avoid a one-game Wild Card playoff.
The team is currently second in the National League Central. just two games behind the first place Milwaukee Brewers. They currently hold the first spot for the N.L. Wild Card by a game and half over the San Francisco Giants.