Yadier Molina back in Cardinals’ lineup Thursday

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The Cardinals were given a scare on Tuesday when catcher Yadier Molina was forced to make an early exit after a nasty collision at home plate with the Pirates’ Josh Harrison. But all is back to normal.

According to Jen Langosch of MLB.com, Molina is back in the St. Louis starting lineup on Thursday night against the Nationals. He suffered neck, back and shoulder strains in Tuesday’s collision but will play through whatever discomfort remains as the Cardinals kick off a crucial four-game series in the nation’s capital.

Molina, 30, is batting .325/.375/.511 with 17 home runs and 62 RBI in 111 games this season.

The Rebirds enter play Thursday with a 71-59 record, ranking second in the National League Central.

Cubs acquire Martín Maldonado from the Royals

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Last night Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was placed on the injured list with a strained muscle in his right foot. That injury inspired the Cubs to go out and get another catcher. They acquired Martín Maldonado in a trade with Kansas City in exchange for lefty Mike Montgomery, in a deal that was announced after the Cubs loss to the Reds.

Maldonado, 32, was a Gold Glove winner in 2017 with the Angels. At the moment he’s hitting .227 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 74 games. Obviously, though, defense is his calling card, as he’s a .220 career hitter with 57 homers and 210 RBIs in 686 games.

Montgomery, 30, is 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Cubs this year. He’s heading back to where his pro career began. He was drafted by Kanas City in 2008, though he was traded away in the James Shields/Wade David/Wil Myers deal in 2012. He made his big league debut for Seattle in 2015. Dayton Moore said last night that the Royals plan to use Montgomery in the rotation as a replacement for Homer Bailey, who was dealt to Oakland on Sunday.