May 12, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (4) hands Atlanta Braves center fielder Michael Bourn (24) his bat after a foul ball at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

Yadier Molina Injury: St. Louis Cardinals Catcher Back In Action Friday

The St. Louis Cardinals narrowly avoided a devastating Yadier Molina injury when the result of his confrontation with a Mitchell Boggs fastball was a bruise and not a break.

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Yadier Molina Injury: St. Louis Cardinals Catcher Returns In Weekend Losses

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina returned to action over the weekend as the team suffered two frustrating losses to the Atlanta Braves, going 2-9 as the Cardinals lost 9-7 and 7-2. With the Cardinals and the Braves closing the series out Sunday afternoon Molina is likely to sit in favor of Tony Cruz, who went 1-4 with a run scored in the only game Molina ended up missing following a scary-looking shot to the left hand courtesy a Mitchell Boggs fastball.

The injury ended up being a bruise, and not a break, which was great news for a Cardinals team that's taken advantage of what could be a career year for Molina in the first season of his enormous new contract. Molina's hitting .296/.344/.504 on the season, continuing a power surge that began, for the formerly punchless catcher, in the middle of 2011. He's presently on pace for 59 doubles and 20 home runs, which looked like reasonable bets for his career totals back when he was struggling to slug over .300 in 2006.

More Cardinals coverage from SB Nation St. Louis:

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Yadier Molina Injury: St. Louis Cardinals Dodge DL Time For Star Catcher

The St. Louis Cardinals' good news on the Yadier Molina injury front continued over their off-day, when it turned out that the hand injury he got from too-close contact to a Mitchell Boggs fastball was a bruise and not a break. With both of their backup catcher candidates struggling in the early going the Cardinals definitely can't afford to lose Molina, who's hitting a career-best .301/.353/.528 with four home runs and 12 doubles since signing his big contract extension in the offseason.

Here's the depth situation for Molina, just in case you want to be nervous some more: Tony Cruz is hitting 3-21 in the kind of limited playing time you get when you're Yadier Molina's backup. Meanwhile, in the minor leagues, left-handed ex-prospect Bryan Anderson started the season off in an impossibly bad slump before righting the ship of late. He's hitting .146.

Meanwhile, in AA, the Springfield Cardinals have a platoon between 26-year-old, .201-hitting organizational soldier Nick Derba and erstwhile sleeper prospect Audry Perez, who, given the platoon situation, I think it's safe to say the Cardinals are also sleeping on. He's hitting .263/.283/.404.

As for their top catching prospects, Robert Stock is now a pitcher and Cody Stanley was suspended 50 games for drug violations. As always: Come back soon, Yadi.

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Yadier Molina Injury A Bruised Left Hand, Not A Break

On Tuesday night, the St. Louis Cardinals had quite a scare when reliever Mitchell Boggs gunned a 90+ mile-per-hour fastball towards the plate that crossed up catcher Yadier Molina -- who had called a slider on the pitch -- and struck him on the left hand. Molina left the game and had Cardinals fans thinking about how the team could possibly replace a four-time Rawlings Gold Glove award winner and a three-time National League All-Star, but it appears both Molina and the team got lucky this time.

Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting X-rays revealed a bruise and not a break on Molina's injured left hand. In fact, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny doesn't even think the team will need to promote a third catcher to the roster. The scariest aspect of the situation is that Molina broke that same hand back in 2005 when he was hit by a pitch, so Matheny did mention that the situation will be rechecked and monitored in the coming days as well, saying: "He's going to be sore. He'll probably have to get a couple more looks at it. We'll just wait and see what their doctor says."

For more news and updates from around the MLB, drop by Baseball Nation with Rob Neyer, or dig deeper into the stats at Beyond the Box Score. Also, check out the team blogs Viva El Birdos and AZ Snake Pit.

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Yadier Molina Injury: St. Louis Cardinals Catcher Positive After Hand Injury

The St. Louis Cardinals may have dodged a bullet on a Yadier Molina injury—one that happened when their star catcher failed to dodge a bullet from Mitchell Boggs. After Molina left Tuesday night's Cardinals win vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks following a mixed-signals-induced shot to his left hand from Boggs. The immediate reports following the game were that the X-Rays looked "pretty clean," but early reports have lied before, so the Cardinals (and their fans) were cautious following the game.

Without Molina the Cardinals would likely go to some combination of Tony Cruz, who is 2-17 since winning the backup catcher job out of spring training, and erstwhile prospect Bryan Anderson, who began the season extremely slowly at AAA Memphis after losing it and is now hitting .122 there. Cruz is a better defensive player, while Anderson, who is left-handed, likely has the better offensive skill-set.

But however well they performed, the drop from the hitting-star Molina we've seen since the 2011 all-star break to two replacement players would be a major blow for a Cardinals team that lacks depth and upside at the position.

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