Cardinals Lose Catcher Molina for 8-12 Weeks

Due to a torn ligament in his thumb, All-Star catcher Yadier Molina will be lost to the St. Louis Cardinals for 8-12 weeks. That led to a series of other moves across the system.

Molina Receives Bad News

Injured while sliding into third base on Wednesday evening, St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina received bad news on Thursday. The 31-year-old has a ligament tear in his right thumb that could keep him out for the next 8-12 weeks, into the post-season.

The fan-voted All-Star Game starter will have surgery on Friday and miss the Midsummer Classic.

Molina had played in 83 of St. Louis’ 92 games, with a slash line of .287/.341/.409. The right-handed hitter has seven home runs and 30 RBI, off pace from his last few seasons offensively.

Molina is leading the Major Leagues by throwing out 47 percent of attempted base stealers this season and tied for second with three pick-offs.

Short of acquisition of outside catching help, backup Tony Cruz should be starting with Audry Perez promoted from Triple-A Memphis to be the reserve.

Perez Benefits from Misfortune

Already on the 40-man roster and with a dash of major league experience last September, Perez, 25, was the obvious internal choice to call up.

Though he has a .288 average with Memphis, Perez is a free swinger, with just two walks in 178 plate appearances this season. The Dominican Republic native has thrown out 29 percent (10 caught stealing in 35 attempts) of attempted base stealers this season.

The moves to cover for Molina’s injury did not stop with Perez. The transactions went all the way down to short-season Class-A State College.

Tartamella Knows the Way

Though Travis Tartamella is a below-average hitter, his work behind the plate is respected and keeps the 26-year-old employed. On Thursday, he was returned to Memphis from Springfield to replace Perez.

Tartamella was with Memphis most of last season, but like several others facing a numbers challenge, had to go back to Springfield for 2014. In 144 at-bats over 43 Texas League games, the right-handed hitter’s line was .139/.209/.174 this season.

Veteran minor leaguer Ed Easley is Memphis’ other catcher and may become the semi-regular starter if offense is a primary consideration. Easley is currently riding a season-best ten-game hitting streak (.424, 14-for-33) and his 2014 line is .259/.330/.401.

Velazco Moving Again

22-year-old catcher Gerwuins Velazco had just joined Palm Beach on June 15 when Jesus Montero was injured. The Venezuelan native has been promoted again, this time to back fill Tartamella with Springfield.

In 35 at-bats over 11 Florida State League outings, Velazco put up a credible line of .286/.324/.343. With Springfield, the right-handed hitter is likely to be the reserve behind Texas League All-Star Cody Stanley.

Ehrlich Back to the Beach

Catcher Adam Ehrlich had been one of three catchers on the active roster of State College. The 21-year-old had previously filled in for three games at Palm Beach earlier this season and seven games the year before and is now retuning there.

In 11 New York-Penn League games in 2014, the left-handed hitter went 5-for-33 (.152), including two doubles and two RBI. He drew seven walks for a .317 OBP.

At Palm Beach, the other catcher is free agent signee Dante Rosenberg. That should enable Ehrlich, the Cards’ sixth-round pick in the 2011 draft, to seize at-bats – if he plays well. For him, the challenge is to stay healthy, as he has less than 90 at-bats since the start of the 2013 season.

Non-Catching News

Another Kaminsky Honor

Minor League Baseball named the Midwest League Player of the Month on Thursday. The honoree is Rob Kaminsky of the Peoria Chiefs, who went a perfect 4-0 with a league-leading 0.89 ERA in 30 1/3 innings tossed. Giving up only three earned runs, the lefty struck out 28 batters while walking only three.

Earlier, the 19-year-old was named the Pitcher of the Month for June by the Cardinals organization and The Cardinal Nation.

Rondon Unavailable

Memphis reliever Jorge Rondon was placed on the temporarily inactive list on Thursday. The right-hander has a 3.13 ERA in 30 games. Rondon has 27 strikeouts and 12 walks over 37 1/3 innings. He also threw one inning with St. Louis in three call-ups this season.

More News on the Way

Please remember to check back here. If additional transaction news comes to light on Thursday, it will be added to this article!

Check Out the Roster Matrix

To see the Cardinals’ entire system by level and position, along with every transaction affecting the organization, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog.

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