Despite an earlier lineup that listed Yadier Molina, it will be Tony Cruz starting behind the plate in Game 4 of the NLDS for the St. Louis Cardinals today.

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“So, as we left last night and the conversation I had with Yadi was let’s wait and see how things progress overnight, some of the treatment or some of the things the doctors were able to do would allow him to be in there were most likely going to have Yadier Molina in the lineup,” explained Mike Matheny.  “So went in with the idea that he was pencilled in and it was wait and see this morning. This morning there was still a considerable weakness in his thumb, so we made a scratch and added Tony Cruz to the lineup.”

Cruz came into last night’s Game 3 after Molina aggravated a thumb-ligament injury in his left hand while swinging and left the game in the 6th inning.

And while he would have issues swinging a bat, Molina remains the backup behind Cruz this afternoon.

“Catching isn’t the issue,” said Matheny. “With the splint he has, catching-wise, he’s able to come in there. If something happened in this game and we needed a catcher to come in, it would be Yadi and we’d be all right with that. As everybody saw, it was a swing that got him, and when that happened, it just really took away the opportunity for him to swing as we moved forward, so we had to make a move and go ahead and pinch-hit for him.

“This is an injury that really relies on rest, and after the season, everything will be kind of addressed to the severity, but at this point the doctors are comfortable if he can tolerate it, but it’s just really difficult to swing the bat, and if we get an opportunity to play beyond today, a little bit of rest, a couple days of rest may do wonders and we see him back.”

In the 13 games Cruz filled in after Molina’s injury, he hit .289 (11-38) with a home run and four runs driven in.


Matt Carpenter, 3B

Stephen Piscotty, 1B

Matt Holliday, LF

Jason Heyward, RF

Jhonny Peralta, SS

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Randal Grichuk, CF

Kolten Wong, 2B

Tony Cruz, C

John Lackey, RHP


Dexter Fowler, CF

Jorge Soler, RF

Kris Bryant, 3B

Anthony Rizzo, 1B

Starlin Castro, 2B

Kyle Schwarber, LF

Miguel Montero, C

Jason Hammel, RHP

Juan Baez, SS

photo credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

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