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Back from IL, Yadi in mix for All-Star nod

Nine-time All-Star catcher ranks fourth after first ballot update; Cards option Knizner
@cdenicola13
June 11, 2019

Read our FAQ on this year’s revamped balloting format, which includes two phases of fan voting to determine the All-Star starters, and the ability to vote through Google Search. MIAMI -- Yadier Molina, who ranks fourth among catchers in Tuesday's National League All-Star balloting voting update, went 2-for-5 in Tuesday

Read our FAQ on this year’s revamped balloting format, which includes two phases of fan voting to determine the All-Star starters, and the ability to vote through Google Search.

MIAMI -- Yadier Molina, who ranks fourth among catchers in Tuesday's National League All-Star balloting voting update, went 2-for-5 in Tuesday night's 7-1 Cardinals win over the Marlins at Marlins Park, just hours after being activated from the 10-day injured list. St. Louis optioned rookie backstop Andrew Knizner to Triple-A Memphis as the corresponding move.

VOTE NOW: Google MLB All-Star Ballot

Molina missed 11 games with a right thumb tendon strain. At the time of his injury, the 16-year veteran led all Major League catchers in games (50), innings caught (416 2/3), RBIs (33), hits (50), doubles (13) and stolen bases (four), with a .265/.294/.397 slash line.

Prior to Monday's 4-1 Cardinals win, Molina took optional batting practice with a handful of teammates and proclaimed his return "close," though he didn't specify whether it would be in Miami or for the Cards' next series in New York.

"Yesterday was a good day," Molina said on Tuesday. "I caught some bullpen and I hit the ball outside. Everything went well, so I'm back."

There will be no hesitation in starting Molina in back-to-back games, though he said the Cardinals will "go day by day." The 36-year-old batted fifth in Tuesday's lineup.

"I wasn't surprised. I had a hint that it was coming," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. "I thought it may be tomorrow based on the reports of how he's feeling back to baseball activity. Once he got here yesterday, his feedback of how he felt, I was pretty confident it was going to happen, a Yadier Molina sighting in a lineup today."

A nine-time All-Star who has made the NL team in each of the past two seasons, Molina has garnered 202,401 votes through the first balloting update. The Cubs' Willson Contreras paces all NL catchers with 850,613 votes. Molina last started in the Midsummer Classic in 2013.

Complete vote totals

Other Cardinals in the top 10 for their respective positions include first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (sixth), second baseman Kolten Wong (eighth), third baseman Matt Carpenter (ninth) and Paul DeJong (sixth), who boasts the third-highest OPS among NL shortstops. Marcell Ozuna ranks 14th among outfielders in voting.

"Paul DeJong's played All-Star-caliber baseball," Shildt said. "He's had a rougher stretch recently offensively, but his defense has still been elite and his baserunning has been superior, and overall his numbers are pretty darn good. I'd like to make sure he gets consideration."

Fans may vote in "The Primary" at MLB.com and all 30 club sites, the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark apps up to five times in any 24-hour period. Fans in the U.S. and Canada can also vote on Google Search for every position, or up to 17 unique players per day, by searching "MLB Vote" or the names of their favorite players. Primary voting ends at 4 p.m. ET on Friday, June 21.

The top three vote-getters at each position (including nine outfielders) per league will move on to "The Starters Election," which begins at noon ET on Wednesday, June 26. The votes will reset for a 28-hour voting window that ends at 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 27. Starters for the 2019 Midsummer Classic will be unveiled on ESPN that night at 7 ET. The pitchers and reserves will be announced on Sunday, June 30, at 5:30 p.m. ET.

Then on Tuesday, July 9, during the 2019 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, fans may visit MLB.com and the 30 club sites to submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet.

The 90th Midsummer Classic, at Progressive Field in Cleveland, will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, please visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.

Christina De Nicola is a reporter and game producer for MLB.com based in Miami. Follow her on Twitter @CDeNicola13.