ST. LOUIS – It’s been a busy sendoff season for Yadier Molina, and he’s gearing up for a stretch run that could lead the St. Louis Cardinals to their fourth straight postseason bid.
Molina is taking on some additional responsibilities amid his 19th season, a campaign he intends will be his final one in Major League Baseball. He’s exploring additional opportunities in the world of sports, including several overseas.
One of those opportunities recently led to Molina taking a two-game absence from the team. Over the weekend, Molina traveled to his native Puerto Rico for what was initially described to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as “business reasons.” Molina later clarified the professional basketball team he owns, Vaqueros de Bayamon, competed for a championship.
The team ended up with its second championship in three years with Molina joining in on the celebration. According to ESPN, Molina had discussed the potential for a brief absence with Cardinals manager Oli Marmol during the last homestand.
The Cardinals placed Molina on the restricted list for the final two games of last weekend’s road series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, then activated catcher Ivan Herrera to have a backup catcher ready. Molina rejoined the team Monday in Chicago for the start of a five-game road series with the Cubs.
It’s unclear if Molina might miss more games for similar reasons, though he is lining up for another opportunity that could overlap with the current Cardinals campaign, depending on the team’s fate come postseason.
Molina announced via Instagram on April 2 that he is planning to manage Navegantes del Magallanes of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League during the 2022-23 season. Molina recently shared more about his upcoming opportunity, which will be his first managerial experience in professional baseball, with the New York Times.
Navegantes del Magallanes is expected to begin Saturday, October 22. While the Cardinals’ regular season wraps up on Oct. 5, the team could be well-positioned for a postseason run past that point. The MLB postseason could even stretch to as late as Sunday, Nov. 4. What that timeframe and balance means for the Cardinals, Molina and his managing opportunities remains to be determined.
Molina and Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright are five starts away from making history as the MLB battery with the most starts. The duo has made 320 career starts together.
After recently returning from injury and the basketball title, Molina is hitting .219 with two home runs and 12 RBI over 53 games this season. He was also throwing out runners at a 45% clip.
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