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Cards claim George Kottaras, Yanks trade for Jeff Francis after injuries

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

George Kottaras (l.) and Jeff Francis landed with new teams on Friday.
George Kottaras (l.) and Jeff Francis landed with new teams on Friday. (USATSI)

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Both the Cardinals and Yankees were dealt significant blows this week, as catcher Yadier Molina (thumb) and right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) were lost for several weeks due to injury. The two clubs made minor moves to help cover for the injuries on Friday.

First, St. Louis claimed 31-year-old catcher George Kottaras off waivers from the Indians, the team announced. He will presumably pair with Tony Cruz behind the plate during Molina's absence. Kottaras went 6-for-21 (.286) with three home runs in 10 games for the Tribe this year while throwing out only one of eight attempted base-stealers. He is a career .216/.326/.415 (99 OPS+) hitter in parts of seven MLB seasons.

Next, the Yankees acquired left-hander Jeff Francis and cash from the Athletics for a player to be named later, both teams announced. Oakland designated him for assignment after landing Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel last week. Francis, 33, had a 5.89 ERA (66 ERA+) in 18 1/3 innings for the A's and Reds this season. Since having shoulder surgery in 2009, he owns a 5.28 ERA (83 ERA+) in 489 innings.

Both Molina and Tanaka are irreplaceable players. The Cardinals and Yankees will surely look to acquire better replacements in the coming weeks, but, within the first few days of the injuries, these are the players who will get the first shot to help out those teams.

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