Yadier Molina faces three months of recovery after thumb surgery


After trying to play through a torn ligament in the NLDS with mostly poor results Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina underwent surgery to repair the injury today.

Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that the recovery timetable is 8-12 weeks, leaving Molina plenty of room to be ready for spring training.

Next season is a crucial one for Molina, because even before the thumb injury he was showing major signs of slowing down at age 32 and once that happens most catchers don’t bounce back in a big way. He hit just .270 with four homers in 136 games for a .660 OPS that’s his lowest since 2006, when Molina was 23 years old.

He topped a .300 batting average and .800 OPS every year from 2011-2013, but his OPS dropped to .719 last season and bottomed out this year. In terms of leading a pitching staff Molina remains vital to the Cardinals and his ability to control an opponent’s running game hasn’t wavered any, but 2016 will tell us a lot about whether he’ll be an impact hitter again.

Molina is under contract for $14 million in 2016, $14 million in 2017, and a $15 million mutual option or $2 million buyout in 2018. If nothing else St. Louis may look into upgrading the backup catcher spot beyond light-hitting Tony Cruz.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

albert pujols
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).