The St. Louis Cardinals received some unwelcome news about catcher Yadier Molina on Tuesday. Molina was removed from the second game of the club's double-header against the Pirates because of increased soreness in his ailing right knee and is likely looking at spending the next few weeks on the disabled list, reports Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.
More Cards: The Deadline of Doom
Molina, 31, has been given an initial diagnosis of a sprain, but will fly back to St. Louis on Wednesday for an MRI to confirm. The All-Star backstop has been dealing with right knee issues for a couple of months, but hasn't needed to officially head to the sidelines for a prolonged stint until now:
"I tried to play through it, but it's getting worse," Molina said...
"The smart thing is to take time off and try to fix it. I've been playing through that since June. Like anybody else, I am one of the guys who wants to be on the field playing.
"But right now I need time."
Molina was held out of the Cardinals' lineup for a few days right before the All-Star break because of similar knee issues. At the time, manager Mike Matheny said that they'd take it easy with him from then on so that the knee didn't become a lingering problem, but then proceeded to send Molina behind the plate for 10 consecutive games. And now here we are.
Knee injuries are a catcher's kryptonite, so there's no telling how long the sprain will Molina out of the lineup. The MRI will give a better indication of where he stands in terms of rehab, but it will probably be a week or so until a firm timeline for his recovery is announced.
Reserve backstops Tony Cruz and Rob Johnson, who are both already on the active roster, will share the primary catching duties while Molina heals. The drop in offensive production between Molina -- who is putting together an MVP-worthy season so far -- and the Cruz/Johnson tandem is likely to be a precipitous one, but the Cards have such a stacked lineup that it shouldn't affect them too much. Whether or not his loss will negatively impact the pitching staff is a whole different story.