Cardinals place Yadier Molina on injured list, promote catcher of the future in Andrew Knizner

The St. Louis Cardinals will get a glimpse of the future behind the plate over the coming days, albeit due to an injury to their past and present catcher Yadier Molina. On Friday, the Cardinals placed Molina on the injured list because of a strained tendon in his right thumb. In a corresponding move, the Cardinals brought up top prospect Andrew Knizner.

Molina will reportedly see a hand specialist to determine the severity of his injury. However long he misses, the Cardinals have to hope he performs better upon his return. Molina had hit just .265/.294/.397 (83 OPS+) in 50 games this season. Those marks are uncharacteristically poor for him, given he'd posted at least a 95 OPS+ in each of the last three seasons.

It's unclear how the Cardinals will split playing time between Knizner and Matt Wieters, who has hit .387/.412/.710 in 34 plate appearances. Wieters' recent history suggests he's not likely to remain nearly that productive as his playing time increases. As such, the Cardinals may end up turning to Knizner no matter what.

Knizner, for his part, has the chance to succeed Molina on a long-term basis. The 24-year-old has hit .286/.355/.450 in Triple-A this year. He's considered a passable defender at worst who could be an average or better hitter thanks to his feel for contact. The main concern with Knizner is that he's a free-swinger who isn't prone to walking. It's to be determined whether big-league pitchers can exploit his swing-happy tendencies -- their minor-league counterparts sure haven't.

The Cardinals, of course, traded Carson Kelly as part of the Paul Goldschmidt deal. 

St. Louis hosts the Chicago Cubs for a three-game set over the weekend -- stream select games regionally via fuboTV (Try for free).

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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