What Yadier Molina’s knee injury means for the St. Louis Cardinals and his chances of breaking the battery mate record with Adam Wainwright.
Even at age 39, Yadier Molina somehow feels invincible. But even the all-time great catcher is susceptible to injuries – and on Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals are expected to place him on the injured list as “he attempts to recover from knee soreness that has ailed him for most of the 2022 season,” according to Katie Woo of The Athletic.
In the meantime, the Cardinals will call up top catching prospect Ivan Herrera. But the bulk of the action behind the plate will go to veteran Andrew Knizner, who has seen an increase in playing time this season as the team has attempted to keep Molina fresh.
But the Cardinals are intrigued by what Herrera, 22, can bring to the table. He has been lauded as Molina’s long-term replacement and now has the opportunity to log significant innings behind the plate and work with starters Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikolas and Dakota Hudson. Once he returns this season, the job will remain Molina’s.
In 2023, the job is wide open, and this is either Knizner or Herrera’s opportunity to make their case to be the No. 1 catcher.
But this continues what has been a frustrating season for Molina. After signing a one-year, $10 million contract extension in Aug. 2021, he reported late to spring training due to personal matters. He has been battling a multitude of injuries, most notably in his knees, and is hitting a mediocre .213 with two home runs and an under characteristically low .519 OPS.
Still, Molina fought through the injuries trying to stay on the field. He wants to win another World Series. He wants to break the record for most starts made by battery mates with Adam Wainwright. He wants go out on top.
Molina’s knees have put that quest on hold, and it’s unclear just when he’ll return.