Molina Returning to Action

(Busch Stadium) After missing the last six games due to left hamstring tightness, Yadier Molina will be back behind the plate for the St. Louis Cardinals as they open a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“Yeah, so he’s back in the lineup so we’re happy about that,” began Mike Shildt.

Earlier in the day, Molina had finished going through his rehab progression which included running on the bases. In that regard, he will be limited moving forward.

“No compromise that he communicates or anybody sees as far as him blocking and recovering, throwing, and hitting so none of those things are issues for him,” said Shildt. “It’s just he’s not going to be able to do a sneak steal or be super-aggressive going first to third. He’s going to be mindful of what that looks like–the conversation really is just can you be honest to regulate that in real competition, real time? He said ‘yeah, I can do that’ at that point, he’s ready to go. He’s cleared for baseball activity and in Yadi’s mind, if he’s cleared for baseball activity that means playing.”

Not reacting in full speed can be easier said than done for an athlete, especially one as competitive as Molina. But the Cardinals are confident Molina will properly regulate his running.

“He was honest with me and said I just want you to be aware that I’m not going to be able to maybe score from first on a double or go first to third and I’ll be limited in that regard,” shared Shildt. “He wanted to make sure I was comfortable with that and my comfortability with him was making sure that he a)would do that and that I was comfortable with it. And also that he was just aware that nothing else was going to be compromising for him because we just don’t need a setback for that because clearly we don’t have much time left in the schedule and he’s an important part of it. Healthy dialogue, no guarantees either way, and he’s in there.”

In Molina’s absence, Carson Kelly started a pair of games and Francisco Pena the other four.

“Pena and Carson have done a nice job for us, they really have,” said Shildt. “But you are talking about, and I’v got to say this relative–no metric can put any value on Yadier Molina. When you’re talking about value of a player, I don’t know many players that are more valuable to what he brings than Yadi. How many runs he’s able to save behind the plate, the best way to capture it is he’s sees the field and he’s the smartest player I’ve ever seen. So clearly, that’s an advantage when he’s on the field.”

Molina will bat seventh tonight and will look to continue a 3-game hit streak (4-11).

photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

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