Monday night was a rough one for Yadier Molina. As though his team falling 10-2 to the rival Cubs wasn't enough, the Cardinals catcher entered the concussion protocol after being struck by consecutive foul balls late in the game.
Back at the park Tuesday afternoon, Molina said he feels better, but will require a couple days of rest before being reevaluated for his return to the field.
“Being a catcher, you get hit a bunch of times,” Molina said. “I’ve been hit in the head many times, but not twice in a row like last night. Last night was pretty bad, but right now I feel much better.”
A 13-year major league catcher who took more than his share of beatings behind the plate, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny might have as much experience with the evaluation process for concussion symptoms as anyone. He stressed Tuesday the importance of removing his own personal history from the equation when discussing Molina’s timetable to return to action.
“Everything is going to rely on what the doctors see,” Matheny said. “It’s going to be part of the testing and part of how his symptoms are coming along. Let that the determining factor be more so than my history or my ideas. We trust the doctors and what they’re coming up with more so than anything else."
In Tuesday’s lineup, Molina is replaced by Carson Kelly, who has compiled a batting line of .180/.255/.240 in limited action for the Cardinals this season. Despite regular playing time, Kelly expects the consistency in his preparation to allow for a seamless transition from backup to starting backstop.
“You stick to your routine,” Kelly said of playing understudy to one of the best in the game. “Come in every day and do the same thing over and over again. It kind of gets redundant, but that’s how I go about my business. Whenever my name is called upon, I’m ready to go.”