Yadier Molina is back, and both he and the St. Louis Cardinals couldn’t be happier.
After missing the first week of camp for personal reasons, the 39-year-old Molina arrived at the Cardinals’ complex on Monday for what will likely be his final spring training.
When St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol welcomed Molina back during a closed team meeting, the cheers and applause from his teammates could be heard outside the concrete building.
Prior to that, a grinning Molina couldn’t take more than a handful of steps without a different teammate walking over to embrace him.
With 20 starts together this season, Wainwright and Molina will have 325 as a battery, breaking the major league record held by former Detroit Tigers players Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan.
When Marmol, a rookie manger, writes Molina’s name on the lineup card for the first time, he’ll be inserting a 10-time gold glover and nine-time all-star behind the plate. He’ll also have an unquestioned team leader on the field.
Molina knew he would be late to camp for some time, but couldn’t inform the Cardinals because of the lockout rules banning communication between teams and players.
The Cardinals claimed left-hander Packy Naughton off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels on Monday.
The 25-year-old Naughton, who fills out the Cardinals’ 40-man roster, was chosen by the Reds in the ninth round of the 2017 first-year player draft. The former Virginia Tech star made his major league debut for the Angels last season, going 0-4 with a 7.15 ERA in five starts and seven total appearances.
Naughton spent most of his season in the minors, going 2-2 with a 4.90 ERA in 10 starts and 14 appearances at Double-A Rocket City and Triple-A Salt Lake City. He did not pitch the previous season because COVID-19 shut down the minors.