Yadier Molina and Gerald Laird downplay ‘animated argument’

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Reports surfaced last night about Cardinals teammates Yadier Molina and Gerald Laird getting into an “ugly” fight over an undisclosed issue, but everyone involved has now downplayed the incident that Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch calls an “animated argument.”

According to Hummel, manager Tony La Russa held a closed-door clubhouse meeting yesterday to address, among other things, the Molina-Laird situation, which occurred at the team hotel after the Cardinals arrived in Florida late Wednesday night.

Albert Pujols reportedly intervened, no punches were thrown, and La Russa told Hummel that “they hugged each other” afterward. Or as Laird put it:

It was just a disagreement. Long day. It’s a long year. When you spend a lot of time with these guys, obviously you’re going to have disagreements. Two guys disagreeing about something and that’s about it. We’re friends. We get along real well.

Still no word on what that “something” could have been, although my hope is that it all started when Laird accused Yadier of being the slowest Molina brother.

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.

Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”

Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.