(BaseballStL) – A big collision at the plate knocked Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina out of the game against Pittsburgh Tuesday night and possibly out of the rubber game of the important three-game series.
“He took a lick there, but he seems to be doing better,” said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny in his post-game comments. “He seems to be moving around a lot better now, just scary.”
“I’m fine,” said Molina following the game.
Matheny says they will keep an eye on their catcher and see how he is feeling tomorrow. Matheny said he didn’t expect Molina to go on the disabled list.
With one out in the bottom of the second inning and Pittsburgh shortstop Josh Harrison on second, Pirate right fielder Jose Tabata hit a hard single to Carlos Beltran.
Harrison rounded third with a full head of steam. Beltran’s short hop throw to the plate arrived in plenty of time, but was just a step up the third base line putting Molina right in Harrison’s path.
Molina was still wearing his helmet and clutching the ball with both hands when Harrison lowered his shoulder, catching Molina in the head, snapping his head back as both players ended up sprawled across the plate.
Molina held onto the ball for the third out.
“I never saw the guy coming, I was concentrating on catching the ball,” said Molina.
Harrison popped up and jogged back to the Pittsburgh dugout. Molina stayed down in obvious pain as the Cards training staff moved in. Yadi had to be helped to his feet and back to the dugout.
Matheny said Molina was dazed and in no frame of mind to argue about coming out of the game.
In a post-game interview on Fox Sports Midwest Josh Harrison says he never intended to hurt Molina.
“I just saw the plate was blocked and there was a collision,” said Harrison. “You never want anyone to get hurt.”
“He took the plate away from Josh and Josh had no place to go,” said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.
“I hope he’s not hurt,” said Hurdle.
In the bottom of the fifth, with the Pirates leading 5-0, Cards starter Jake Westbrook plunked Harrison in the legs, prompting a warning from the home plate umpire. Harrison took first without further incident.
Ironically, the collision at home plate came eight years to the day that Molina was involved in a similar play at the plate that resulted in him taking a shot to the head, but holding onto the ball for the out.
“He is legitimately the toughest guy in this league,” said Matheny.