Molina put on bereavement list, to miss ASG
Cruz starts behind plate Friday; Anderson recalled from Triple-A Memphis
ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was placed on the Major League bereavement list on Friday following the passing of his wife's grandfather. Molina has returned to Puerto Rico and is not expected to suit up again this weekend.
Teammate Matt Holliday will replace Molina on the National League roster for Tuesday's All-Star Game.
"On the field, obviously, we'd like to have him here, but we have a consistent message around here that we keep the first things first," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said on Friday afternoon. "Family's first, and it's a tough deal that their family's going through right now. We're thinking about him. We're praying for him. The baseball stuff's secondary, but there's no question, we like having him around, we need him on the field.
"That's who raised his wife, who was very close with Yadi, also," Matheny continued. "His wife needed him there for support. He apologized a couple times, and I said, 'Man, it'd make us complete hypocrites around here if we didn't stick with what we said that keep the first things first.'"
Backup Tony Cruz started behind the plate and batted eighth for the Cardinals in Friday's opener against the Marlins. Cruz is hitting .196 with a home run and three doubles in 22 games this season.
Catcher Bryan Anderson was recalled from Triple-A Memphis and was expected to be in uniform and available on Friday. The 25-year-old Anderson was batting .210 with two home runs and 24 RBIs in 64 games with Memphis this season.
Matheny said he anticipates Cruz could play all three games this weekend. But considering that the temperature at game time for each contest is expected to be above 100 degrees, Matheny said he's not afraid to give Anderson a chance if Cruz gets fatigued.
"We're just gonna watch today, see how it goes, see how he feels, keep a close eye on him," Matheny said.
While it can't be easy to replace a four-time All-Star batting .304 with 45 RBIs this season, Matheny is confident in Cruz stepping in for Molina, considering the work ethic he's shown this season. Matheny gave Cruz the reins to call Friday's game, as Molina has done all season.
"Whenever Tony's had a chance, he's done a very good job," Matheny said. "It's hard enough as a backup player, but then to play behind someone that plays as often as Yadi does, especially in that position. He's constantly running back and forth to the bullpen, making sure he's catching every one of these guys every chance he gets. It's paying off. He's doing a nice job, and hopefully that can continue."
Holliday chosen to replace Molina on All-Star roster
ST. LOUIS -- It's not how Matt Holliday would have liked to have been chosen as a National League All-Star, but Holliday will nonetheless be heading to Kansas City next week for the 2012 Midsummer Classic.
Holliday was named by NL All-Star manager Tony La Russa to replace Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina on the active roster. Molina was put on the Major League bereavement list on Friday and has been placed on the family medical emergency list after a death in his family.
"It's always an honor and a pleasure to be part of it," Holliday said. "Whatever the circumstances, obviously I feel for Yadi, but I'm privileged to be part of the game and part of the All-Star team."
Because the top three catchers on the Player Ballot were already invited to the All-Star Game, Molina's replacement was determined by La Russa in conjunction with MLB.
The 83rd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. Pregame ceremonies begin at 7:30 p.m. (EDT)/6:30 p.m. (CDT). ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
Fans will also have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the 2012 MLB.com All-Star Game MVP Vote during the All-Star Game on MLB.com.
Holliday is an All-Star for the sixth time in his career, and has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball lately while leading the Cardinals with a .318 average. He's batting .500 (34-for-68) with four homers, 21 RBIs, 10 doubles and 17 runs scored since June 16. Over that span, he boasts the highest batting average, on-base percentage (.549) and slugging percentage (.824), and he leads the Majors in doubles.
"He deserved to be there. I think that's really the end of the story," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He's an All-Star-caliber player in an All-Star-caliber year. I'm really happy for Matt, especially how he's made a strong push here."
Holliday's hot streak has come after he made a minor adjustment in his swing a few weeks earlier. Holliday hasn't disclosed much on what that adjustment was, and neither has Matheny.
"He's been hitting the ball hard all year, and I guess his adjustment was stop hitting it hard at people," Matheny joked.
Holliday said Friday that his success is simply a result of not complicating things when in the box and trying to put together a quality at-bat each time.
"I think when you keep it real simple and real day to day, you're much more likely to put a couple weeks, months, a season together," Holliday said.
Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal left Friday night's game in the ninth inning due to a bothersome shin. Furcal legged out an infield single against Marlins closer Heath Bell. He came out after talking it over with Matheny and a team trainer. Matheny said the injury is not serious, but it has been bugging Furcal lately.
"He's got a little leg issue that kind of keeps creeping back to him," Matheny said. "He said it was going to be OK, but at that point, no sense taking a risk."
Daniel Descalso started at second base for the Cardinals on Friday, a day after Matt Carpenter made his first career start at the keystone. Carpenter went 1-for-1 with a pair of walks and played six innings in the field in the Cardinals' victory.
St. Louis announced on Friday a ticket promotion tied to Monday night's State Farm Home Run Derby. For every home run Carlos Beltran hits, fans can take $1 off Pavilion and Terrace level tickets currently priced at $20 for the Cardinals-Dodgers series July 23-26. If Beltran hits 20 homers, those tickets will be free.
The Cardinals' game on July 21 has been moved to 6:15 p.m. CT from the scheduled start time of 3:05 p.m.
Mike Still is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.