9:55am: Molina will miss at least four weeks after suffering a “pelvic injury with traumatic hematoma,” the Cardinals announced (Twitter links via Joe Trezza of MLB.com). They’ve placed him on the DL and recalled Kelly. The club also recalled reliever Mike Mayers, who will take Dominic Leone’s place. Leone is headed to the DL with “right arm upper nerve irritation.”
8:11am: Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina underwent surgery Saturday after being hit in the groin by a foul tip, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak confirmed to Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cardinals are now expected to go without Molina for at least a month.
Molina suffered the injury during the Cardinals’ victory over the Cubs, which was St. Louis’ fourth straight win to open the month of May. The Cardinals, now 19-12, own a half-game lead over the Brewers in what has been a rather competitive NL Central to this point. As usual, their success has come thanks in part to the revered Molina, who has slashed .272/.292/.456 (103 wRC+) with six home runs in 120 plate appearances. Behind the plate, the 35-year-old Molina has ranked as one of the game’s top pitch framers in the early going, and has helped the Cardinals’ staff to the majors’ fourth-best ERA (3.36).
While Molina has been eminently durable during what could be a Hall of Fame career, this injury may help lead to his lowest games played total since 2014, when he appeared in 110 contests. He has otherwise seen action in at least 136 games in each season since 2009. The Cardinals aren’t exactly accustomed to life without Molina, then, though they’ll have to make do with their reserve backstops for at least a few weeks.
Without Molina, it seems likely St. Louis will go forward with the 28-year-old Francisco Pena and the well-regarded Carson Kelly, 23, the only other catchers on its 40-man roster. The Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate scratched Kelly from its game Saturday, Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch tweeted then, indicating he’s on his way back to the majors after logging a combined 89 PAs at the game’s highest level from 2016-17.