Craig Calcaterra

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Yadier Molina will start in today’s spring training game

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Yesterday Yadier Molina hit off a tee for the first time this spring. It was thought that, within a week or so, he’d play in a game. Would you believe a day? At least sort of.

Molina is listed ninth in the batting order for today’s game against the Marlins. He will catch but will be pinch-hit for when his turn comes up in the order. Still, being in an actual game situation and catching will help him get on track for Opening Day.

At least Curt Schilling has a sense of humor about his job status

Curt Schilling

I’ve given Curt Schilling a lot of crap in the past, but I have to tip my cap to him here.

Many people are passing this around, but I saw it via Meg Rowley of Lookout Landing and Baseball Prospectus. It’s from the public listing of federal campaign contributors. Schilling, not surprisingly, has made donations to political campaigns in the past.

In 2008, while still an active player, he donated to the McCain campaign and listed “Boston Red Sox” as his employer. This past January he donated a small amount to Ben Carson’s campaign and listed “ESPN” as his employer. That makes sense.

Last September, however, right on the heels of his suspension in the wake of his controversial social media habits, he was a bit more specific. Check out the middle one:

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I’m still not Curt Schilling’s greatest off-the-field fan, but I always retain some goodwill for people who have a sense of humor about stuff. Kudos to Schilling for being zen about his job status.

Aledmys Diaz learned English from watching the Ellen DeGeneres Show

St. Louis Cardinals' Aledmys Diaz hits a single   in the fourth inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Friday, March 21, 2014, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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OK, that’s the funny takeaway from this story, but it’s not really the point. The point is Derrick Goold’s get-to-know Aledmys Diaz story, which is pretty good. The Cardinals’ 25-year-old shortstop prospect faces a pretty big challenge in filling Jhonny Peralta‘s shoes, but as we noted yesterday he got off to a good start, going 4-for-4.

Goold’s story is the sort of thing you bookmark for later. From it you get the strong sense from it that the Cardinals are really hoping he pans out as an everyday replacement for Peralta. You can’t help but think of past fill-ins for the Cardinals when reading it. They always seem to come out OK after a star goes down or after they take a flyer on someone no one else thought could do the job. Adam Wainwright has missed two of the past five seasons. The Cardinals won the World Series in one of them and won 100 games in the other. Bobby Bonilla went down in spring training once and they called up a kid named Pujols who turned out OK. They have signed guys at the end of the line on multiple occasions who put up randomly amazing half-seasons or swan songs. We joke about “Cardinals Devil Magic” but it’s likely the case that they simply know when to take a chance on a short term replacement and that their good judgment married with good luck has been a key part of their success.

That could very well happen with Diaz. If so, it’ll be interesting to go back to this article and see if there was some prescience on the part of the Cardinals that, right now, just seems like optimism. Oh, and it’ll definitely be worth going back for this:

Before answering questions about his four-for-four day, Diaz told reporters that he wanted to first say how he “felt bad” for Peralta and how important the All-Star is to the Cardinals team. Diaz said that in English just 12 months after he would request an interpreter for all interviews. To improve his English, Diaz watched YouTube on his phone. One of his best teachers has been The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which he watches to learn conversation.

Which puts one in mind of this: