Yadier Molina found himself in the operating room for surgery due to an injury suffered during the Cardinals’ 8-6 win over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
Jordan Hicks, the St. Louis pitcher, uncorked a 102-mile-per-hour fastball, the Cubs’ Kris Bryant didn’t quite get full contact on it, and Molina was hit hard where no man should be hit.
Hicks, not normally a junkball pitcher, will find himself pitching to Carson Kelly in starts for the foreseeable future, as the catching prospect will be hoping Molina just had a Wally Pipp moment for his career prospects.
— Jeff Jones (@jmjones) May 6, 2018
Molina went in for surgery, which does invite speculation as to just what exactly happened beyond mere fodder for adolescent humor involving a trauma to the groin.
Reports are that the surgery was to remove a traumatic hematoma; for a more visible (not to mention safe-for-work) example of a hematoma, consider what happened to boxer Hasim Rahman when he got one on his forehead in his heavyweight title fight with Evander Holyfield in 2002 thanks to a head butt sustained during the fight.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Molina will be out for at least a month.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny used an economy of words to describe the situation.
“That was a bad one,” Matheny said. “And those ones don’t necessarily feel better tomorrow. That was hard to see.”
Outfielder Marcell Ozuna was similarly terse when asked about the situation.
Said Ozuna, “One hundred and two [mph], fouled it off, just missed it, and hit him straight. That’s bad.”
The Cardinals did, however, win the game, turning a 6-4 deficit in the bottom of the ninth into first an extra-inning game after tying the score and then, in the 10th inning, an 8-6 win on Kolten Wong’s two-run walk-off homer.
Molina, in his 15th year in the league, was having an outstanding season before the injury; his .456 slugging percentage and .748 OPS were both above his career totals, and his 0.4 wins above replacement projected to a solid starter’s clip over the course of a full season and possibly a ninth All-Star appearance; he has also won eight Gold Gloves.
With the win, the Cardinals ran their record to 19-12, taking over first place in a crowded National League Central race; they stand half a game up on the second-place Brewers and 2.5 games ahead of the Cubs and Pirates. The Reds, the division’s whipping boys, are 8-25, tied with Baltimore for the worst record in all of baseball.
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