Yadier Molina injury: Cardinals to give All-Star catcher more days off

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

The younger Molina's recent bout with knee inflammation has moved the Cardinals to take a more cautious approach with their MVP candidate.

The St. Louis Cardinals are planning to give All-Star catcher Yadier Molina more days off through the remainder of the season in light of his recent bout with knee inflammation, reports Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.

More Cardinals: Trimming the Fat

Molina, 30, returned to the Cards' starting lineup on Tuesday after three days on the sidelines to let the swelling in his right knee heal. An MRI exam taken over the weekend indicated that Molina doesn't have any structural damage in his surgically repaired knee, but St. Louis does not want to take any unnecessary risks with him going forward.

Said manager Mike Matheny:

"I've made it clear that when it gets hot, which it is, we're going to be very careful. There will be more days [off]. That was going to happen regardless of whether his knee started bothering him or not."

Molina has started 79 of the team's first 85 games, leaving little room for back-up catcher Tony Cruz to get any time behind the plate. The Cardinals have now added a third catcher to the roster -- veteran Rob Johnson -- which should give the club more flexibility in giving Molina time off to rest his knees.

Molina has put together MVP-like numbers in the first half, seemingly completing his decade-long evolution from defense-only catcher to all-around baseball destroyer. The younger Molina brother is batting .344/.389/.487 with six home runs through 82 games thus far, easily surpassing his best batting average and on-base numbers.

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