MILWAUKEE -- Claiming veteran catcher George Kottaras off waivers from Cleveland was the best option available in the wake of Yadier Molina's injury, general manager John Mozeliak said prior to Friday night's game at Miller Park.
"Obviously, the ability to do something quick was something that was definitely driving this," Mozeliak said. "Also, the fact that he's a left-handed hitter was helpful. For us, we were trying to explore what our options might be and what they looked like. Clearly there were a couple of players that were [designated for assignment] the same day that injury happened to Yadi. I think we were just fortuitous in the sense of the timing. But, now it gives us a little bit of a timeout to keep exploring other things should we need to."
Most Wins Above Replacement for NL position players since 2012
The left-handed hitting Kottaras, 31, has a .216 career average in 305 games with 32 home runs and 100 RBIs. Prior to being designated for assignment on Monday, he was hitting .286 with three home runs in 10 games with the Indians.
He also has been effective as a pinch-hitter with 10 hits in 46 at-bats, including 6-for-22 with the Brewers in 2012.
"George, he had a really nice season with us," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He's a guy you have to be worried about offensively because he can hit the ball out of the ballpark. He played great for us when we had him here that year. No doubt, a big hit with losing who I consider a guy that's an MVP-type player. [The Cardinals] have a good backup, because when we see [Tony] Cruz, he usually gets a bunt of hits off us, and he's a good defensive player, also. But losing Yadi is obviously pretty tough."
The immediate plan is to give Cruz the bulk of the catching duties, Mozeliak said. The Cardinals also have Audrey Perez, who was called up Thursday from Triple-A Memphis.
"My hope is we play Cruz. I've always been an advocate to find out what we have back there. So, I do think this is a good opportunity to get him those at-bats, to challenge him with that. But, I do think acquiring George gives us a little protection should we need it."
Kottaras is expected to join the team on Thursday, which will require a move to make room for him on the roster.
In addition to claiming Kottaras, the Cardinals actived Joe Kelly from the DL for Friday's start, optioned Tyler Lyons to Triple-A Memphis and transferred pitcher Jaime Garcia to the 60-day DL.
Molina, Garcia undergo successful surgeries
MILWAUKEE -- Catcher Yadier Molina and pitcher Jaime Garcia each underwent successful surgery for their respective injuries, general manager John Mozeliak said before Friday night's game at Milwaukee.
Molina had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb he sustained on a feet-first slide into third base in the second inning of the Cardinals' 5-2 victory over Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
Garcia, who was transferred to the 60-day disabled list on Friday, had surgery to remove a rib on his left side to address symptoms associated with thoracic outlet syndrome, the same surgery that Chris Carpenter underwent in 2012.
"They all went well," Mozeliak said. "In Yadi's case, he obviously did need it. It was completely torn. Therefore, the recovery time is still what we talked about the other day, eight to 12 weeks, we'll see where that goes. In Jaime Garcia's case, the doctor also felt this was a surgery that needed to happen. Went ahead and did remove the rib and feels like he should receive a decompression, if you will, where the nerves were. It should help him."
Garcia, who was 3-1 with a 4.12 ERA in seven starts, will miss the rest of the season.
Triple-A prospect Castro named to PCL All-Star team
MILWAUKEE -- Memphis Redbirds right-hander Angel Castro was named to the Pacific Coast League All-Star roster, replacing Jimmy Nelson of the Nashville Sounds.
Castro, signed as a free agent in December, is 7-5 with a 3.38 ERA in 18 games with Memphis, including 14 starts. It is the first time in his nine-year professional career that the 31-year-old Castro has made an All-Star team.
He was 8-5 with a 3.48 ERA last season with Albuquerque, the Dodgers Triple-A farm team. Castro has not pitched in a Major League game.
Ironically, Nelson was called up by the Brewers and will start Saturday against the Cardinals.
Jim Hoehm is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.