Yadier Molina to Injured List, Replaced by Ali Sanchez

photo: Yadier Molina via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced prior to this evening’s game that they have placed catcher Yadier Molina (right foot tendon strain) on the 10-day Injured List and recalled catcher Ali Sánchez (pronounced AH-lee) from the team’s Alternate Training Site.

Yadier Molina

Sánchez, 24, was acquired by the Cardinals for cash considerations from the New York Mets in February.  The right-handed hitting Sánchez, a native of Venezuela, made his Major League debut last season, appearing in five games with the Mets.

Sánchez appeared in six games this spring, and had a homer and 2 RBI in his five Grapefruit League at-bats.

Ali Sanchez

Molina, 38, is off to one of the best starts of his career, leading the Cardinals in batting (.323), doubles (5), home runs (5) and RBI (14).  It is just the ninth time in his 18-year Major League career that Molina has been placed on the Injured List.

Sánchez wears uniform no. 41.

Brian Walton’s take

Molina first injured his foot while running the bases in Friday’s game, exiting in the fifth inning. The 38-year-old sat out Saturday and Sunday before returning to the lineup to catch Adam Wainwright on Monday.

Per Cardinals manager Mike Shildt, Molina called him early Tuesday afternoon. The catcher said he did not recover well from playing the prior night and was having trouble moving around. Molina reported to Busch Stadium and after meeting with the medical team, they decided to place him on the IL.

Multiple imaging had been taken previously which showed the root problem can be addressed via rest and his return based on his comfort level more than requiring time out to recover from any structural problem. Even so, Molina has been directed to stop baseball activities for the time being. Shildt would not speculate about whether Molina will be out the minimum 10 days or longer.

Andrew Knizner

Andrew Knizner will move into the everyday starting role behind the plate, with Sanchez expected to make a start or two during the team’s current stretch of consecutive games without a day off.

The pressure will be on the still improving, but relatively unproven Knizner to not only pick up some of the slack of Molina’s offense lost, but to direct a starting pitching staff that seems to have hit its stride in the last week to 10 days.

Likely, Sanchez was already with the team in St. Louis, having traveled with them on the taxi squad this season to date. The three (Molina, Knizner and Sanchez) are the only catchers currently on St. Louis’ already full 40-man roster not in Florida. Prospect Ivan Herrera is also on the roster, but is in minor league camp and likely ticketed to start the season at Double-A Springfield.

The potential taxi squad catching replacement on the next road trip starting this Friday, April 30, would be either Tyler Heineman or Dennis Ortega, with the former most likely, in my estimation. Both are currently assigned to the Cardinals’ alternate site.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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