SAN FRANCISCO -- Though the injury is still considered minor, discomfort in Yadier Molina's right shoulder forced the catcher to the bench for the second consecutive game Sunday.Francisco Pena started behind the plate for St. Louis in the finale of a four-game set vs. the Giants at AT&T Park.Cardinals manager
SAN FRANCISCO -- Though the injury is still considered minor, discomfort in Yadier Molina's right shoulder forced the catcher to the bench for the second consecutive game Sunday.
Francisco Pena started behind the plate for St. Louis in the finale of a four-game set vs. the Giants at AT&T Park.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Molina could be available as a pinch-hitter, if necessary. With a scheduled off-day Monday, the Cardinals don't anticipate Molina needing to miss more time. He is considered day to day.
"He could've played yesterday," Matheny said Sunday. "This was a good chance to get him two days off consecutively. He's been doing work and measuring up pretty good."
Pain first shot through Molina's shoulder while at the plate Friday, when he felt what Matheny described as "a zinger" during an at-bat in the sixth inning against Dereck Rodriguez. Molina completed the game, but he sat Saturday as a precaution.
The eight-time All-Star is working on his finest offensive season in some time, hitting .278 with 38 RBIs and an .816 OPS in his age-36 season. Molina's 13 home runs lead all MLB catchers, though he missed a month to a serious groin injury earlier in the year.
• The designated-hitter option that will be available during two upcoming games against the White Sox in Chicago, set for Tuesday and Wednesday, should provide the Cardinals a prime opportunity to get Jose Martinez's bat in the lineup consistently. Martinez made his second consecutive start at first base Sunday (as part of a right-handed-heavy lineup against Madison Bumgarner), but he'd sat for three of the previous five as part of the club's sharpened focus on defense. The "defensive initiative," as Matheny described it, has meant limiting Martinez's exposure at first, where he's committed a NL-high seven errors.
Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.