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.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.
Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.
Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.
Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”