Cardinals seeking catching help, suggesting that Yadier Molina’s knee injury is serious

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Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina made an early exit from Tuesday night’s 6-0 loss to the Pirates with what is being labeled a right knee sprain. He is back in St. Louis on Wednesday for an MRI, which is expected to yield a more exact diagnosis.

It’s probably safe to assume the injury is serious.

According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Cardinals have suddenly changed course and are looking to add a new catcher before the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline. Tony Cruz and Rob Johnson are the current options behind the plate for St. Louis.

Molina, 31, is widely regarded as the best defensive catcher in baseball and was batting .330/.374/.479 with eight home runs and 54 RBI through 98 games this season. He’s irreplaceable, but the Cards will try.

It’s probably worth noting that Kelly Shoppach just opted out of his contract with the Nationals.

The Cardinals are currently 1 1/2 games back of the Pirates in the National League Central standings.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.