The battery is back: Cardinals activate Yadi and Martínez

Yadier Molina and Carlos Martinez return to active duty Tuesday night against the Marlins.
Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Cardinals activated All-Stars Yadier Molina and Carlos Martínez from the 10-day disabled list Tuesday.

The moves were announced before the series opener with Miami.

“It means everything, it really does,” St. Louis outfielder Harrison Bader said about having Molina back. “He’s the glue of the defense and in the dugout. He’s a presence. To have him back is something I’m looking forward to and I’m sure everyone else is too.

“Pretty much the same thing about (Martinez). Guys like that working together on the same field makes it a special day. To have them both back is going to be a real uplift.”

St. Louis General Manager Michael Girsch said he is glad to have players coming off the disabled list.

“It’s nice to sort of hopefully turn the corner on removing guys from the DL more than putting guys on the DL,” Girsch said. “Obviously these two, one’s a Cardinals legend and one’s on his way to being one hopefully, so it’s a great way to start the series.”

Manager Mike Matheny is happy to be able to put their names on a lineup card.

“It’s pretty special to have them both back on the same day,” Matheny said. “Carlos brings a presence to our club obviously on the mound, having a great year, and we know the kind of pitcher he can be. I don’t know if you can say enough about what Yadi would mean to any team and what we know he means to ours. Getting him healthy and getting him back into that mix is something that I believe will give our team a bump.

“But in the same breath also, never forgetting how well of a job everybody else did, especially what Francisco Pena and Carson Kelly were able to do while Yadi was gone.”

Molina, out since May 5 with a pelvic injury with traumatic hematoma, missed 26 games. He played two games over the weekend for the Springfield Cardinals (AA) on an injury rehabilitation assignment. Molina caught five innings Saturday and eight innings Sunday.

Molina was batting .272 with six home runs and 17 RBI in 30 games played when he got hurt.

Martínez, who made his last appearance for the Cardinals on May 8, was leading the National League with his 1.62 ERA at the time of his injury (right lat strain), going 3-2 in eight starts. He worked four innings in an injury rehab starting assignment for Springfield on May 31. He will make the start for the Cardinals against Miami.

Since Molina went down, the Cardinals went 13-13.

“It’s a testament to guys’ next man up attitude and the overall depth of the organization that we can be down a Hall of Fame type catcher and a Cy Young contending starting pitcher for a month and still sort of hang in there,” Girsch said.

In other news, the Cardinals also purchased right-handed pitcher Preston Guilmet from Memphis.

Infielder Greg Garcia has been placed on the paternity list. Garcia likely will return Thursday from the paternity list following the birth of his first child, a girl named Olivia.

The Cardinals also optioned right-handed pitcher Mike Mayers to the Triple-A club. Memphis catcher Steven Baron has been designated for assignment to make room for Guilmet on the team’s 40-man Major League roster.

Guilmet, 30, was signed by the Cardinals as a minor league free agent in January after having spent the 2017 season pitching (1-1, 3.62 ERA) for the Yakult Swallows of the Japanese Central League. The 6-foot-2, 217-pound reliever has a career mark of 0-1 with an 8.22 ERA in 19 games in the majors with Cleveland (2013), Baltimore (2014), Tampa Bay (2015) and Milwaukee (2015).

The Cardinals honored stipulations in the Minor League deal Guilment signed over the offseason after pitching last season in Japan last year. Guilmet had the opportunity to be reassigned to another club if he wasn’t on the big league roster by June 1.

In 21 relief appearances for Memphis this season, the 30-year-old Guilmet is 0-0 with a 0.93 ERA and a league-leading 11 saves. He has struck out 35 in 29 innings pitched and walked just five. He has held opposing right-handed hitters to a .094 average (5-for-53) and lefties to a .103 mark (4-for-39).

When facing batters with runners in scoring position, he’s allowed just one hit in 18 at-bats for a .056 mark and he’s stranded 11 of 14 inherited runners for the year.