Cardinals manager Mike Matheny sent a wave of fright through the Midwest on Saturday when he announced in his postgame press conference that Yadier Molina was on his way to the hospital to have his right knee examined by team doctors.
But the Cardinals and their fans can breathe again.
According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, an MRI taken late Saturday on the knee showed no serious structural damage. Molina was diagnosed with mild inflammation which should dissipate over time with treatment and random days of rest.
Tony Cruz is starting behind the plate for a second straight game on Sunday. Molina thinks he will be able to return for Tuesday’s series-opener against the Astros following Monday’s scheduled team off day.
Yadi — widely considered the best defensive catcher in baseball — is batting .346/.388/.490 with six home runs and 45 RBI in 81 games this season. Despite the lacking power numbers, he is a legitimate MVP candidate and wound up as the leading vote-getter in the National League for the 2013 All-Star Game.
St. Louis enters play Sunday with a one-game deficit behind the Pirates in the National League Central.
Last we heard from Shelby Miller, the Diamondbacks’ right-hander was contemplating Tommy John surgery for a partial UCL tear in his right elbow. Now, he appears to have decided to go through with the procedure.
Miller decided to skip Tommy John alternatives like plasma-rich platelet injections or stem cell treatment, which have been used to varying degrees of success by other major league pitchers with similar injuries. The surgery will set him back an estimated 12-18 months, FanRag Sports’ Tommy Stokke reports, which puts Miller’s estimated return date somewhere in 2018 if all goes well.
The 26-year-old starter was off to a rocky start this season, posting a 2-2 record and 4.09 ERA through 22 innings and striking out just 20 of 99 batters faced. This was his sophomore campaign in Arizona after muddling through the 2016 season with a 3-12 record, 6.15 ERA and 0.5 fWAR over 101 innings with the club.
Rays’ right fielder Steven Souza Jr. left Saturday’s game after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch from Blue Jays’ right-hander Joe Biagini in the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to hit the top of Souza Jr.’s hand, causing the outfielder to crumple at the plate and requiring assistance from assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker as he exited the field. Postgame reports from the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin revealed that Souza Jr. sustained a left hand contusion and is scheduled to undergo further evaluation on Sunday.
While the diagnosis isn’t as bad as it could be, it’s still a tough break for the right fielder, who missed 40 days of the 2015 season after sustaining a fracture in his left hand on another hit by pitch. The team has yet to announce any concrete timetable for Souza Jr.’s return, though manager Kevin Cash indicated that they’ll be taking things day to day for the time being.
Souza Jr. is batting .326/.398/.543 with four home runs and 17 RBI through 104 PA in 2017. He went 1-for-2 with a base hit and a walk prior to his departure during Saturday’s 4-1 loss.