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Yadier Molina has a torn ligament in his right thumb that will keep the St. Louis Cardinals All-Star catcher sidelined for at least the next two months, ESPN reported late Thursday.
Named to his sixth straight All-Star team in final voting released earlier this week, Molina was injured on Wednesday when he slid into third base against Pittsburgh and planted his hand for balance. The Cardinals confirmed Molina is set to undergo surgery on Friday.
“I almost cried,” said Molina when faced with the hard-luck news.
Amazingly, Molina remained in the game and caught another half-inning before being taken out in the third inning for a pinch hitter. The Cardinals have since recalled catcher Audry Perez from Triple-A Memphis.
“He went through some tests, and you could feel some irritation there, obviously,” manager Mike Matheny said of the veteran Molina. “He was still trying, he got it taped up and was convinced he was going back in, but we had to get it looked at.”
Hitting .287 with seven homers and 30 RBIs, Molina was set to make his fourth All-Star Game start. A six-time Gold Glove winner, Molina is also widely considered the defending National League champ’s most valuable player.
The 31-year-old Molina is also regarded as one of the game’s most durable backstops, having started at least 128 games behind the plate every season since 2009 and 1,083 games overall since 2006.
Tony Cruz is expected to serve as Molina’s replacement and the team is also rumored to be considering such vets as A.J Pierzynski and John Buck, both of whom were recently designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners, respectively.
In the midst of a three-game winning streak, the 50-42 Cardinals, had just crawled back to within two games of the first-place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central and are tied for second the second wild-card spot.
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