The St. Louis Cardinals had a minor shakeup of the team with a swap of players on the injured list and the promotion of a prospect, as well as the firing of a coach.
The St. Louis Cardinals made some moves today, reinstating catcher Yadier Molina from the injured list after a right thumb strain kept him out of action since July 8 and promoting outfielder Randy Arozarena from Memphis.
However, Jose Martinez went to the injured list after sustaining an AC joint sprain after hitting his shoulder on the wall in last night’s game, and catcher Andrew Knizner was demoted to Memphis to make room for Molina.
Many Cardinals fans clamored for the addition of Arozarena as the team struggled to stay afloat. Arozarena has been tearing up the minor leagues this year, hitting .349 in 298 at-bats, adding 10 home runs and 16 steals. There was nothing left for him to prove in Memphis, as his numbers became more eye-popping by the day.
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Matt Wieters filled in admirably in Molina’s absence. Since Molina went on the IL for the second time, Wieters hit .246 with five home runs in 65 at-bats, which isn’t bad for a backup catcher. He really shone with his arm, nailing eight out of 18 base thieves on the season.
Martinez was hitting .266 on the season with 10 home runs. Arozarena will almost certainly present a defensive upgrade in the outfield. Knizner struggled at the dish in his first exposure to the big leagues, hitting .190 but throwing out three of four potential base stealers.
On the coaching side, the Cardinals fired assistant hitting coach Mark Budaska, who was a coach in the Cardinals’ farm system from 2008 to 2017. He served as the assistant to hitting coach Jeff Albert this season, a year in which the Cardinals have underwhelmed offensively. The Cardinals promoted Memphis Redbirds hitting coach Jobel Jimenez to take Budaska’s place.
The timing of this coaching change seems odd, as the Cardinals scored 11 runs yesterday, but they have shown a poor offense against more talented teams, and time is running out on the season.
With Molina’s return providing a sense of security and Arozarena’s arrival a breath of fresh air for the fans, this is a good spot for the Cardinals despite the loss of Martinez. It remains to be seen if they can run with the opportunity.