Yadier Molina catches bullpen session for first time since thumb surgery

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When Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb on July 11, it was estimated that he would miss 8-12 weeks. He already appears to be ahead of schedule.

Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com brings word that Molina has been cleared to begin some baseball activities. He started today by catching a bullpen session for the first time since surgery. While he still wore a soft cast on his throwing hand, he was also able to make some light tosses. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that Molina “is feeling like he wants to push it,” but he’ll have to grip a bat and hit without discomfort before being cleared for a minor league rehab assignment.

Molina, who will be five weeks removed from surgery tomorrow, was batting .287/.341/.409 with seven home runs and 30 RBI over 83 games prior to the injury.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: