August 28, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison (5) checks on St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (rear) after the two collided at home plate during the second inning at PNC Park. Molina would leave the game. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Yadier Molina Injury: St. Louis Cardinals Catcher Returns To Lineup Thursday

Yadier Molina and the St. Louis Cardinals took a beating against the Pittsburgh Pirates, figuratively and literally.

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Yadier Molina Injury: Collision Leaves St. Louis Cardinals Very Thin At Catcher

The St. Louis Cardinals were optimistic that Yadier Molina's injuries weren't as bad as they looked following the home-plate collision that knocked him out of their ugly loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates Tuesday, and it's a good thing—they don't have much backing up their MVP-caliber catcher. Day-to-day they can do—Tony Cruz and Bryan Anderson, due up from Memphis, might be a little better than replacement level. Any more than that, though, and—get well soon.

Cruz has walked all of two times in 2012—that says a lot about how healthy and hardy Yadier Molina has been, but it also says a lot about Cruz's offense, which is best described as backup-catchery. Bryan Anderson, his left-handed opposite number, was supposed to be the antidote, but after just missing the backup job out of spring training he's put up the worst numbers of his career in AAA Memphis. (He's joining the team Wednesday, if you drew the same conclusions I did from this Joe Strauss tweet.)

That sounds like two backup catchers who might, if everything breaks right, form a platoon somewhere just north of replacement level. If the Cardinals are going to be without Yadier Molina for more than 15 days it might be time to ask him what Bengie's doing.

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Yadier Molina Injury: St. Louis Cardinals Report Catcher "Day To Day" After Ugly Collision

At the thought of a Yadier Molina injury, most St. Louis Cardinals fans' baseball lives flash rapidly before their eyes. Tuesday night, though, they'll probably have a more specific image in their head: The ugly, unnecessary collision at home plate that occurred in the second inning of the Cardinals' loss to the Pirates, when he found himself barreled over by an elbows-up Josh Harrison. It couldn't have looked more like a concussion, and Mike Matheny more than anybody else must have been worried, but the Cardinals' Twitter announced in midgame that he was day-to-day with an even more hyphenated upper-back-left-shoulder-neck-strain.

Well, that's about everything but a concussion, so inasmuch as anybody could be lucky in this kind of situation Molina and the Cardinals appear to have dodged a bullet. Tony Cruz would start if Molina is forced to miss any time; if he's sent to the disabled list the Cardinals would call on offense-first minor leaguers Bryan Anderson or Steven Hill—or, once rosters expand, both.

For more updates on Yadier Molina's condition and the Cardinals' catching situation, stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis or subscribe to this storystream on Facebook by clicking like.

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