'Dedicated' Knizner showing improvement

May 31st, 2021

When it comes to giving veteran catcher Yadier Molina days off, the Cardinals have been in good hands. After starting Sunday's 9-2 loss at Arizona, Andrew Knizner has appeared in 23 games at catcher this season and made 17 starts, mostly leading St. Louis to positive results.

The Cardinals are 15-8 in games that Knizner has appeared behind the plate. Manager Mike Shildt said the improvements and development from the 26-year-old catcher have been noticeable, even though they may not show up in Knizner's stats.

“Kniz has really grown in a lot of areas,” Shildt said. “You know, the physical development, him learning that position, he's really dedicated himself. … But then, there's that game experience of calling a game at any level, including the big league level, and what that looks like.

“And you know, to Kniz's credit, I speak about this, he's done his own work. He's owned what he does. He's taken advantage of his own experience.”

With the Cardinals amid a stretch of 17 straight days with games, Molina said getting days off will be valuable. He added that Knizner has shown how valuable he is behind the plate when given the opportunity.

“Any time you have a day off or DH, it’s good for you,” Molina said. “Right now, Knizner is doing really good calling games and winning games. You're going to see that for many games on the road right now.”

Knizner is batting .215/.301/.277 with four doubles and two RBIs.

Miller likely back next homestand
For the past month, the Cardinals have been without left-handed reliever Andrew Miller (right foot toe blister), but his return is coming soon.

Miller likely won’t be joining the Cardinals for the series against the Dodgers in Los Angeles that starts Monday, but he is on track to potentially return Thursday, when St. Louis opens a four-game home series against Cincinnati.

“[He] feels good. Going in the right direction," Shildt said. "[He] wants another outing on the mound, and he'll join us at home.”

In three rehab outings for Triple-A Memphis, Miller has allowed one run over three innings with five strikeouts. Before the injury, he had an 8.59 ERA in 7 1/3 innings this season for the Cardinals.