Cruz and the Royals agreed to terms on a one-year, $975,000 deal Friday, avoiding arbitration, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports. The Royals acquired Cruz from St. Louis last month after the Cards signed Bryan Pena. Cruz will go from backing up Yadier Molina to backing up Salvador Perez in Kansas City, and Cruz figures to have only a minor role given Perez's status as one of baseball's most used catchers. Perez played in 142 games last season.
Cruz was traded from the Cardinals to the Royals on Wednesday. Cruz became dispensable following the Cardinals' signing of Brayan Pena, and the backstop will now serve as the backup to Salvador Perez rather than Yadier Molina. While Yadier Molina generally sees a lot of starts behind the plate when healthy, Salvador Perez is one of the most heavily used catchers in the league (142 games last season), limiting any potential production from Cruz barring an injury.
Cruz will start Game 4 of the NLDS after it was announced Yadier Molina was a late scratch from the lineup, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Cruz will take over behind the plate and hit eighth in the order for Molina, who was forced out of the lineup with a nagging injury in his thumb. With the veteran catcher's status up in the air moving forward, Cruz could see a significant increase in playing time if the Cardinals stay alive in the postseason.
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was forced to exit Tuesday's game against the Indians in the ninth inning due to back stiffness, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Yadi tightened up a little bit," manager Mike Matheny told MLB.com. "I don't know if it was the cold or what it was exactly, so we'll have to keep an eye on him." Molina was 2 for 4 and scored a run before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the person of backup catcher Tony Cruz. Cruz would likely draw the start on Wednesday if Molina is unable to go.
Although he exited Sunday's game with light headness, third basman Matt Carpenter is in the Cardinals' starting lineup on Monday, batting second.Kolten Wong received a rest and was not in Sunday's lineup for the Cards but returns Monday, playing second base and batting seventh.Struggling catcher Yadier Molina, who's been dealing with knee soreness, will not start Monday as Tony Cruz gets the nod at catcher and will hit eighth.