Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina sprained his thumb last night on an awkward slide into third base. He underwent an to determine the severity of the injury. The verdict: severe. Molina has a torn ligament in his right thumb. He will have surgery and will miss 8-12 weeks, the team announced a few minutes ago.
Molina was hitting .287/.341/.409 with 16 doubles and seven home runs when he went down. That’s off the pace of where he’s been the past couple of years, but it’s still excellent production, and that’s before you factor in the fact that he is, bar none, the best catcher in all of baseball. This is a tremendous blow for the Cardinals, who have had the luxury of Molina’s outstanding work, almost uninterrupted, for the past decade.
In his place: Tony Cruz and Audry Perez. At least for now. If the Cardinals are looking to get a veteran presence to take Molina’s place or back either Cruz or Perez up, both John Buck and A.J. Pierzynski were DFA’d this week.
Not that either of them are a substitute for Yadi. Heck, you could stack all four of those guys on top of one another and they wouldn’t measure up to Yadi.
Pablo Sandoval could be tabbed to play second base in the near future, per a report from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Shea, Sandoval has been spotted taking grounders at second during pre-game warm-ups and may be considering switching to the keystone on a part-time basis.
It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing the 31-year-old corner infielder has done this year — that distinction goes to the flawless inning of relief he pitched in a blowout loss against the Dodgers last month. But it would represent a pretty notable departure from his comfort zone even so; Sandoval has primarily manned first and third base throughout his 11-year career in the majors and has also taken a few reps at DH during his resurgence with the Giants in 2018.
Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent switch for Sandoval. As Shea points out, the Giants are thin on middle infielders after losing Joe Panik to a torn UCL in his left thumb and backup Alen Hanson to a left hamstring strain. Provided he can get up to speed quickly (no easy feat, according to infield coach Ron Wotus), he’d give the club some added depth behind Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez until Panik is ready to take the field again. Sandoval has impressed at the plate this spring, batting a healthy .270/.329/.429 with six extra-base hits and a .757 through 70 plate appearances.