A Yadier Molina injury is almost unequivocally the worst thing that could happen to the St. Louis Cardinals as this Wild Card race shambles toward the end of September, and in their Saturday afternoon game vs. the Chicago Cubs it briefly looked like Molina had strained his oblique dodging an inside pitch from Carlos Marmol. The Cardinals are still being cagey about the injury's seriousness, but it's been labeled immediately as "back spasms," a potentially minor issue compared to the O-word Twitter was nervously bandying about.
Yadier Molina left with lower back spasms, per the #Cardinals trainers and officials.— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) September 22, 2012
Molina appeared to grab at his side before frustratedly leaving the game in mid-at-bat. Tony Cruz filled in immediately, hitting a long but ultimately harmless drive to center field on zero notice. Without Molina, the Cardinals would be heavily reliant on Cruz, Bryan Anderson, and Steven Hill, which is not quite the same as having the best all-around player in the National League in front of the umpire four games out of five.
Stay tuned to this storystream for more updates on Molina; as soon as we have them, we'll relay them right here. And then, hopefully, exhale for the first time in about a half-an-hour.