Yadier Molina won’t be back with the Cardinals before September


Yadier Molina is four weeks into what was expected to be an 8-12 week recovery from a torn thumb ligament and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that “what we’re hearing is good” on the catcher’s status.

Matheny described it as “just healing time” right now and reiterated that Molina won’t return before September. He also said the team has had to keep Molina away from the ballpark at times because “we’re trying to keep him from going crazy … he wants to be out there so bad.”

After initially turning to Tony Cruz and George Kottaras the Cardinals have gone with A.J. Pierzynski as their primary Molina fill in. Pierzynski collected three hits in his Cardinals debut, but the 37-year-old Red Sox castoff has a .616 OPS in five games overall to match his poor production in Boston.

Blue Jays sign Danny Espinosa to minors deal

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Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.

Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.

Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.