Molina back with Cardinals after going home for basketball title

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO – Yadier Molina rejoined the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday after traveling to his native Puerto Rico for the end of his basketball team’s championship run.

The 40-year-old Molina owns the Vaqueros de Bayamon, who play in the Baloncesto Superior Nacional league. Bayamon beat San German 75-61 on Saturday to clinch its 16th BSN title.

Molina was placed on the restricted list Saturday and missed the final two games of St. Louis’ weekend sweep in Arizona. The veteran catcher was in the starting lineup for the opener of a five-game series at the Chicago Cubs.

“That’s a business trip,” Molina said. “I had to be there for the team and for the city. … It was a great experience.”

Asked how he weighed his duties with the NL Central-leading Cardinals versus his ownership of Bayamon, Molina said he had to go.

“The people need it in Puerto Rico. Obviously, to be around there with the people, with the team, it’s good for the people down there,” the 10-time All-Star said. “So I did what I had to.”

To make room for Molina on the roster, fellow catcher Ivan Herrera was optioned to Triple-A Memphis and placed on the Cardinals’ taxi squad.

The team also announced that reliever Ryan Helsley had been removed from the paternity list and placed on the restricted list.

Molina had three hits in the Cardinals’ 5-1 victory over the Diamondbacks on Friday night. Heading into the series at Wrigley Field, he was batting .222 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 52 games in what likely will be his final big league season.

St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said Molina brought up the trip during the last series of the team’s previous homestand.

“It went well,” Marmol said of his talks with Molina. “He’s a grown man. We had the conversation and we left the room on the same page as far as him going back and being in the lineup today.”

Molina has spent his entire career in St. Louis, breaking into the majors in 2004 and winning two World Series titles with the Cardinals. He said he appreciated the team’s understanding when it came to the Puerto Rico trip.

“It was tough,” he said. “Obviously you want to be here with the team and do your job. But obviously, my business side, you got to be there with the team and you got to be there for the people over there, too. So I mean I’m glad it was only two days.”

Tyler Glasnow scheduled to rejoin Rays’ rotation

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow is scheduled to rejoin the rotation at Cleveland after missing nearly 14 months because of Tommy John surgery.

The Rays’ Opening Day starter last year hasn’t pitched this season after undergoing the procedure on Aug. 4, 2021.

“I think we’re pretty confident he’ll be starting for us,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said before the game with Toronto. “This is the first time he’s thrown pain-free in quite some time, so he’s encouraged by it.”

The 6-foot-8 right-hander went 5-2 with a 2.66 ERA in 14 starts last year and is a key addition as the Rays near a wild-card spot.

“Compared to the past, like, three years it feels way better as far as postday and the week leading into starts and stuff,” Glasnow said. “It’s good to have an UCL, you know.”

Cash said Glasnow will throw around 45 pitches in his initial outing, which should allow him to go two or three innings.

“Two innings of Glasnow is still a huge plus for our team,” Cash said. “Like to get three innings. If we do, great. If we don’t, that’s fine, too.”

Glasnow allowed one run, one hit, four walks and had 14 strikeouts over seven innings in four starts with Triple-A Durham.

“I’m really excited,” Glasnow said. “I’m approaching it like normal, staying on routine. Feels normal.”

Glasnow signed a two-year, $30.35 million contract that will delay the start of his free agency by one year last month. He’s making $5.1 million this year and will get $5.35 million next season and $25 million in 2024, which is the first year he would have been eligible for free agency.