The scariest thing for Cardinals Nation happened this past weekend when catcher Yadier Molina had to sit out games due to pain in his knee. The National League leader in batting average underwent an MRI, but thankfully the results showed only inflammation. Nevertheless, Molina is the club’s most valuable player so even cautionary medical procedures are alarming. The Cardinals should take advantage of a light upcoming schedule and give Yadi rest this week leading up to the All-Star break.
St. Louis has had an unusual amount of off days leading up to the All-Star break and now they should use this time to give more rest to their star catcher. They have a two-game series with the Astros and a weekend series with the Cubs. With two of the worst teams in the Majors on their schedule, the Cardinals should try playing without Molina, at least for the first two games against Houston. If they struggle mightily for some reason with Tony Cruz filling the catcher position, they can always put Yadi back in heading into the weekend.
Most likely the Cards will be able to prevail against the lowly Astros anyway and that would give Yadi two more days of rest, with the option of holding him out for more games during the weekend. It will be tough to keep Yadi out if he thinks he is healthy enough to play because he is a gamer who always wants to be in the lineup, but this minor injury of his needs to be looked at with a long term approach. The division is not going to be won in early July.
Manager Mike Matheny, no stranger to the grind of being a big league catcher, has played Molina a lot so far this season, only recently giving him substantial rest. Yadi has played in 81 of the team’s 87 games thus far. Now is the time to take advantage of the schedule, especially with the All-Star break approaching, and get Yadi close to 100% healthy going into the second half. Yadi was voted an All-Star starter by the fans, so he will have to play at least a few innings in the midsummer classic next Tuesday. But the Cards do not play until Friday after the break, so if they can manage to hold Yadi out for the two against the Astros, plus another one against the Cubs, that would mean Yadi would only have to play a handful of games in two week span. That would be a well deserved break for the toughest catcher in baseball.