Even with uncertainty around Yadier Molina’s injury, the St. Louis Cardinals already have a replacement on the roster.
Katie Woo of The Athletic reported Thursday evening that Yadier Molina, the future Hall of Famer and 19-season veteran catcher of the Cardinals, would be headed to the 10-day injured list with persistent knee pain.
Woo reported the Cardinals are preparing to be without Molina for a few weeks. Luckily, the Cardinals have been getting some work from his replacement this season. Andrew Knizner has been getting more work as the Cardinals wanted to give Molina plenty of rest time while also getting a chance to see what they have in their backup catcher.
Knizner hasn’t been hitting well at all as he is slashing .198/.283/.257 with one home run and three doubles on the season. He has 10 walks, seven runs, and 11 RBI. Cardinals manager Oli Marmol recently address concerns about a lack of production from the catching position:
Marmol said Knizner is “working on it.” The Cardinals will give Knziner all the opportunities he needs to work on his hitting and improve it, taking on the pitching staff and being that on-the-field manager that Molina has been for this team.
He will get the opportunity to show the Cardinals what they have in him.
As the team still has its concerns, this does give the Cardinals a chance to bring up the prospect who has been seen as Molina’s heir-apparent in Ivan Herrera. He was brought up to the Cardinals once this season, only being used as a pinch-runner.
During Molina’s absence, Herrrera will be Knziner’s backup. If Knziner doesn’t perform as the club wants, Herrera will get his opportunity to shine. During his time with the Cardinals AAA Memphis Redbirds, he is hitting .291/.388/.436 with three home runs, five doubles, one triple, 18 runs, and 16 RBI.
It will be exciting to see how Knizner takes on this new role as the Cardinals’ primary catcher. The team will assuredly give him the shot he needs to confidently take on the role. The pitching staff seemingly has as much trust in him as they do Molina, who taught Knizner everything he knows. Knizner caught Miles Mikolas near-no hitter this week. Molina hasn’t done that, after all.
It will be fun to see what Knziner does with this opportunity. It will also be exciting to see if Herrera, the next up-and-coming prospect, gets an opportunity to make things interesting for the Cardinals who already have a lot of questions ahead of them as we get deeper into the season.