The St. Louis Cardinals need Yadier Molina back on the field as they try to overtake the Brewers and win the NL Central, but it doesn’t appear Molina will be ready to return any time soon. Indications are that the catcher will not be back in the lineup until at least September.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said the main challenge with Molina is keeping him from going out of his mind as he slowly recovers from the torn thumb ligament that has put him out of action (via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch):
“We’re trying to keep him from going crazy. He wants to be out there so bad,” Matheny said.
“When he’s around, he’s an absolute cheerleader and engaged. But he also knows he doesn’t want to come in here and start trying to take control. He knows that relationship has to happen between the catcher and pitcher.”
In Molina’s absence, the Cardinals have been getting veteran leadership and tough-guy presence at the catcher position from A.J. Pierzynski, who was picked up after his release from the Red Sox.
Pierzynski can help a team get to the playoffs (if his teammates can keep from punching him in the face) but if you’re the Cardinals you’d prefer to have Molina back there. He’s been a rock for that organization for years.
The Cards currently sit one game behind the Brewers in the division race.