JUPITER, FL. (KMOV.com) -- The days of Yadier Molina standing like a statue in the batter’s box appear to have come to a close, as the Cardinal catcher has been moved to the sixth spot in the lineup for Friday’s game against Detroit.
Molina took at bats in a minor league game Thursday against Alex Reyes and is ready to take the limiter off at the plate in Grapefruit League games.
He’ll be catching Adam Wainwright in the ace’s third spring start. After cleaning up mechanical issues in his debut, the 34-year-old Wainwright sharpened his pitches in second outing.
“After my last start, I needed to take a step back and really work on some things. Now, I’m going to continue to work on things, but I have a good base where I can build off,” he said. “The important thing for me today was doing a better job executing. I backed off a hair in several different ways and tried to really focus down, really focus on driving the ball through the target.”
Molina will likely work most of the game behind the plate, as the team has focused on stretching him out in the same way they focus on pitchers gaining stamina.
Matt Holliday will get his spring debut in the outfield, batting third and playing left field. Mike Matheny was clear that doesn’t mark the end of the experimental position change, however.
“We’re still going to get him opportunities at first,” he said. “So far we’ve been happy with how he’s progressed, but every rep we can get him over there I think the more comfortable he’s going to feel for when it really counts.”
The use of the designated hitter in spring games has come to a close, meaning Matheny has less flexibility in getting free at bats for players looking to time up their swing. In order for Brandon Moss and Matt Adams to both get the at-bats they need in the first baseman competition, Holliday will likely have fewer turns in the infield.
Here is the full lineup: