Yadier Molina was forced to exit Game 2 of the NLCS against the Giants last night due to an oblique injury, but Cardinals manager Mike Matheny confirmed this afternoon that he will remain on the team’s roster.
According to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, Matheny said that he was surprised at how good Molina looked while playing catch today. The veteran backstop is not ready to swing a bat yet, so he’s falling into the vague category of “day-to-day” right now. Matheny didn’t rule out the possibility of using Molina for late-inning defense as soon as tomorrow.
It’s no surprise that the Cardinals would resist replacing Molina on the roster for the remainder of the NLCS, as it would make him ineligible to play if the team advances to the World Series. Oblique injuries are very tricky and often sideline players for several weeks, but the Cardinals are holding out hope for some rapid progress.
No official word yet on who will start behind the plate tomorrow, Matheny indicated that A.J. Pierzynski could get the call.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Reds “have emerged as the frontrunner” to sign free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. Morosi says the Reds and Castellanos “have made progress over the past several days.”
The Reds were going to have a lot of outfielders already when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps. And, of course, the Reds could trade from their outfield surplus if, indeed, they end up with an outfield surplus.
Without question, however, Castellanos would be the big dog, at least offensively, in that setup. He had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power. If he were to sign to play half his season in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.