Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina underwent a second operation on his ailing left thumb yesterday, reports MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch (on Twitter). The first surgery “didn’t take,” as Langosch puts it, and with a second operation coming in mid-December, she adds that it’s likely Molina will miss most of Spring Training.
Molina originally sustained the injury — a torn ligament — in mid-September but returned briefly in the playoffs after sitting out the final few weeks of the regular season. However, he exited Game 3 of the NLDS after very clearly aggravating his hand on a swing and didn’t return for the final game of that series. St. Louis has since added the switch-hitting Brayan Pena as a backup for Molina this offseason, but it certainly seems possible that he’ll now begin the regular season behind the plate with Molina landing on the DL for the early portion of the year.
Molina has suffered a torn ligament in each of his thumbs over the past two years, missing about seven weeks in 2014 before incurring this injury late in 2015. That pair of injuries may have impacted Molina’s offense, as he batted just .267/.309/.317 in 27 games following his 2014 injury and was sporting an uncharacteristically light .270/.310/.350 batting line in 2015 before injuring his other hand.
Beyond that, Langosch also tweets that center fielder Randal Grichuk underwent sports hernia surgery recently but is expected to be ready for Spring Training. Favorable timeline notwithstanding, Grichuk’s situation bears monitoring, as setbacks could impact his availability for the season. Grichuk projects to be the everyday center fielder in St. Louis following Jon Jay’s trade to the Padres; he will, presumably, be flanked by Matt Holliday and Stephen Piscotty on the outfield corners.