ST. LOUIS -- All-Star catcher Yadier Molina is expected to miss at least eight weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. The St. Louis Cardinals announced the procedure would take place Friday.
Molina left Wednesday night's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the bottom of the third inning with what the team called a right thumb sprain.
Molina appeared to sustain the injury sliding into third base advancing from second on right fielder Allen Craig's groundout to third in the second. Manager Mike Matheny and trainer Greg Hauck came out to check on him after the play.
The loss of Molina could be devastating for the Cardinals. The mainstay is a Gold Glove catcher whose value goes far beyond his statistical contributions.
He is first in batting average (.309) and wins-above replacement (17.5) among all catchers since 2011.
Recently voted to his sixth consecutive All-Star Game, the 31-year-old started at least 128 games in the previous five seasons and was batting .287 with seven home runs this season.
The Cardinals recalled catcher Audrey Perez from Triple-A Memphis before Thursday.
Molina stayed in Wednesday's game and caught the top of the third, but he was removed for pinch hitter Tony Cruz in the bottom of the inning.
Cruz stayed in the game to catch and could be tried as the team's everyday backstop.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun