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St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina could be out for season

It's pretty much the worst case scenario for St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.

His throwing hand thumb ligaments, thought originally to be strained, are actually torn. They'll require surgery to fix and the recovery window puts his return between sometime in the last month of the season and shortly after the season ends. There are about 11 weeks left in the 2014 campaign and the recovery period is 8-12 weeks.

There's no way to get around what a significant blow this is for the Redbirds. Not only is Molina an important offensive producer on a team that needs all the offense it can get. He's also the glue that holds together the pitching staff. And that's especially important on a club with so many young hurlers.

Coincidentally, Molina's arch rival, Cincinnati second sacker Brandon Phillips suffered the same injury on the same day and will also require surgery that puts the rest of his season in jeopardy.

The Cardinals, in the short term, will turn to capable back-up catcher Tony Cruz. I'm interested to see how Yadi's understudy handles the regular load. Cruz seems to have a pretty decent bat. But he doesn't really get much of a chance to get into a groove.

There are some options on the market for another catcher including former Seattle, Pittsburgh and Kansas City catcher John Buck and former Boston, White Sox, Minnesota, Texas and San Francisco catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Both of those players have been designated for assignment and could be had for a song.

If the Cardinals went the trade route, maybe Yadi's brother Jose Molina is a possibility. He's hitting only .187 this season for the Tampa Bay Rays. But he's a good defensive catcher who could provide some continuity because of his close relationship with his sibling.