CHICAGO – Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina downplayed any serious issue with his lower back after he tweaked it while getting out of the way of an inside fastball during their 5-4 win in ten innings Saturday afternoon.
Molina was batting with the go-ahead run on third base in the ninth inning of a 4-4 game when he moved awkwardly to avoid a Carlos Marmol fastball. He fell to the ground and was immediately attended to by Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and head trainer Greg Hauck.
The Gold Glove catcher argued to remain in the game but Matheny decided against it. Backup catcher Tony Cruz pinch-hit and popped out to deep center to end the inning.
“Not really, I’m not concerned,” Molina said afterwards. “I’m a little worried because anytime your back hurts, you are a little worried, but its better to take one or two days off and finish strong.
“I wanted to stay in there because you want to be there for your team but at the same time, you want to be careful with that because it’s very, very fragile, your low back. If you take a bad swing, it will make it worse.”
Molina slammed his bat twice as he made his way down the dugout steps. He was 6-for-11 in his career against Marmol and loves batting with the game on the line.
The All-Star has started 12 consecutive games and may have been in line to get Sunday off anyway. It seems likely now that he’ll get a rest before the Cardinals head to Houston for a three-game series starting Monday night.
“He just moved funny and a little back spasm,” Matheny said. “He just kind of got torqued there, so we’ll take a look at it in the morning and see what we’ve got.
“It just tightened up on him and usually going in there and trying to react to max speed doesn’t necessarily help the issue. Trainers were encouraged, they thought it was something we could take a look at in the morning and go from there.”
With the injury appearing worse when it first happened, the Cardinals would gladly take only having to be without Molina for a few days.
They enter Sunday’s series finale against the Cubs with a 2.5 game lead for the second wild card spot in the National League.