Cruz goes to DL with ‘tiny microfracture’ in left arm

ST. LOUIS — As expected, the Cardinals returned All-Star catcher Yadier Molina and outfielder Shane Robinson from the disabled list before Thursday afternoon’s game against the Pirates.

As expected, Jermaine Curtis was sent back to the minors to make room for Robinson.

Not expected: Tony Cruz went to the disabled list. It turns out that Cruz, who started 11 of the 14 games while Molina was out, has been playing through a sore left forearm. He said Thursday morning he has been bothered for “about a month.”

“Last couple of weeks it didn’t really get any better,” Cruz said.

Cruz went for an MRI and CAT scan Monday, which revealed a “tiny microfracture” on the under side of his left foreman a few inches below the elbow.

Cruz said he wasn’t bothered much when he was behind the plate, but swinging a bat had become painful enough that he stopped taking batting practice before games, except for a couple of swings in the cage.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Cruz will be shut down from swinging for a week to 10 days.

Once Cruz started catching on a regular basis in Molina’s absence, the soreness increased, he said. “It’s part of the grind,” he said. “I tried to hang in there as long as I could.”

The Cardinals went 6-8 in Molina’s absence. Cruz went 9 for 44 (.205) with one home run at bat and threw out three base stealers in seven chances.

 “I appreciate and respect how he has kept going out there and doing his job,” Matheny said. “We gotta get him some rest now and give him a little time and he’ll come back and be able to help us out.”

You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at stanmcneal@gmail.com.