ST. LOUIS (AP) All-Star catcher Yadier Molina is in the lineup batting seventh for the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Division Series opener against the Chicago Cubs.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon flipped the corner outfielders for defensive purposes, moving rookie Kyle Schwarber to right field and Chris Coghlan to left field.
Molina has been out since Sept. 20 with a strained left thumb ligament sustained tagging out the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo at the plate in Chicago. He’ll be wearing a hard plastic molded splint behind the plate and tape the thumb for at-bats.
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Stephen Piscotty, sidelined by a concussion late in the season, started at first base for the Cardinals and batted St. Louis.
The Cardinals won the NL Central for the third straight year with 100 wins, finishing three games ahead of the third-place Cubs. Chicago is in the postseason for the first time since 2008.