St. Louis’ playoff roster for the NLDS will not include A.J. Pierzynski, who filled in at catcher while Yadier Molina was hurt, or Jason Motte, who was the team’s standout closer before blowing out his elbow.
Molina is back and will start every playoff game, so the Cardinals preferred Tony Cruz as his backup after Pierzynski hit just .244 with one homer and a .600 OPS in 30 games.
Motte saved a league-high 42 games for the Cardinals in 2012, but then he missed all of 2013 and struggled this year with a 4.68 ERA and seven homers allowed in 25 innings.
Minnesota’s Josh Donaldson managed to get ejected while hitting a home run.
Donaldson barked at plate umpire Dan Bellino for the second time in the sixth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.
With the score 2-2, Bellino called a strike when the 2015 AL MVP checked his swing on a 2-0 pitch from Reynaldo Lopez.
Manager Rocco Baldelli came out to speak with Bellino, and Donaldson homered down the left-field line on the next offering. After rounding the bases, Donaldson kicked dirt at home plate as he crossed it.
Bellino ejected him immediately, and Donaldson, realizing he had missed home plate, returned to the plate to touch it and then argued as he kicked more dirt on it.
Donaldson also had argued with Bellino on a 1-1 breaking ball in the first inning that appeared to be high but was called a strike, leading to a strikeout.
“We need Josh on the field, out there playing, and at third base,” Baldelli said. “That’s when we’re at our best. And so that’s really the end of it. I think we can move past it at his point, and go from here.”
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