4:00pm: Molina, DeJong, Sosa, Fernandez, Whitley and Carlos Martinez have all been placed on the injured list, the Cardinals announced. Veteran infielder Brad Miller, meanwhile, has been activated from the IL. Corresponding roster moves will be announced in the coming days, per the club.
The Cardinals also announced that minor league hitting coordinator Russ Steinhorn, who has been working at the team’s alternate training site, will join the Major League coaching staff. Assistant minor league hitting coordinator Joey Hawkins will head to the alternate site in his place.
10:50am: Mainstay Cardinals backstop Yadier Molina announced today that he is among the players that has tested positive for COVID-19. Starting shortstop Paul DeJong is also among the players to test positive.
The team further announced (with the players’ approval) that infielders Edmundo Sosa and Rangel Ravelo and pitchers Junior Fernandez and Kodi Whitley have been infected with the coronavirus. That would appear to leave one additional player unidentified based upon prior indications of seven positive tests.
Each of these players will obviously be sidelined while recovering, which will hopefully occur in short order. They’ll have to test negative twice before being allowed to resume baseball activities with the organization. Depending upon the amount of time that takes, each player could potentially require some training time before rejoining the active roster.
The most important thing here, obviously, is the health of the players involved and those that have potentially come into contact with them. Based upon recent testing results, the team is hopeful that the spread has been limited to these players and the various staff members that have already tested positive.
From a baseball standpoint, it’s obviously a significant blow to the team’s roster. The 38-year-old Molina has long carried a huge burden behind the dish. DeJong is a high-quality younger player. While the other players had lesser roles, they’re all part of the depth picture. And Whitley seemed primed to emerge as a potentially important part of the club’s bullpen.
Andrew Knizner and veteran Matt Wieters will presumably share duties at the catching position. Filling the void at short could prove tricky, particularly with all three infielders departing the roster at the same moment. There’s no clear option in the 60-man player pool. Utility candidate Max Schrock lacks substantial experience at short. Elehuris Montero and Nolan Gorman are young infielders with talent, but they’re still fairly raw and are both limited to third base.