In the ninth inning of Saturday’s 8-6, extra-inning victory over the Cubs, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina experienced an especially viscous foul tip that resulted in a pelvic injury with a traumatic hematoma. The severity of the ailment was high, as the tenured Molina required surgery and will miss at least four weeks. The team officially placed him on the disabled list Sunday morning.
With the hard-throwing Jordan Hicks on the mound, Cubs infielder Kris Bryant fouled off a fastball from Hicks that clocked in at 101.5 MPH. The foul ball caught Molina squarely between the legs, and he remained on the field for several minutes before leaving with the team’s training staff and manager Mike Matheny.
Molina had an emergency operation on Saturday evening to drain the swelling of the hematoma. The recovery timeline for this type of procedure is rather timely, but the Cardinals are currently projecting him out of the lineup for around a month’s time.
To take Molina’s place on the active roster, the Cardinals called up Carson Kelly from Triple-A Memphis. For the Redbirds this year, the 23-year-old Kelly was slashing .234/.337/.364 with four doubles, two home runs, and 11 RBIs in 21 games. Kelly is the team’s top catching prospect and is rated third overall by MLB.com, behind right-handed hurlers Alex Reyes and Jack Flaherty.
Reliever Mike Mayers was recalled with Kelly on Sunday, as Dominic Leone was also placed on the disabled list with nerve irritation in the upper part of his right arm. Leone entered Friday’s game and was quickly removed after throwing two warmup pitches. The initial reason for his departure was described as a right biceps cramp. A timetable for Leone’s return has not been publicly established.
Molina was off to solid start at the plate, batting .272 with a 103 wRC+ and six home runs in 30 games. Molina trails only Yankees slugger Gary Sanchez in home runs among Major League backstops (Sanchez has nine, entering play Sunday) and ranks in the top three of the team leaderboards in long balls, batting average, and RBIs.
In 16 games out of the bullpen for St. Louis, Leone had 15 strikeouts and three walks to complement a 3.40 xFIP in 13 frames.