The Cardinals are going to be without their leader behind the plate for an extended period. Yadier Molina is expected to miss a month after being hit in the groin with a foul ball during Saturday's game, a source told MLB.com's Joe Trezza. The source said Molina underwent emergency surgery on Saturday night.
The club has not commented.
The Cardinals were already preparing for this possibility Saturday night. The team's top catching prospect, Carson Kelly, was scratched from his scheduled game at Triple-A Memphis, and a baseball source told Trezza that Kelly is expected to join the Cardinals and be promoted prior to Sunday's series finale against the rival Cubs at Busch Stadium.
In the top of the ninth inning of St. Louis' 10-inning, walk-off win, the Cubs' Kris Bryant got a piece of a 101.5-mph fastball from flamethrowing Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks and redirected it between Molina's legs. Molina remained on the field for several minutes with the Cardinals' training staff before exiting the game.
"That was a bad one," manager Mike Matheny said after the game. "He just couldn't go anywhere. There was nowhere to go. He was trying to get the ability to breathe back. No further explanation for that one."
Molina, a 15-year Major League veteran, was having a solid offensive season, hitting .272 with six home runs and 17 RBIs in 30 games, while handling his typical heavy workload behind the plate.
Molina was one of three Cardinals players to exit with injuries on Saturday, along with Tommy Pham and Bud Norris.
Kelly, who the Cardinals hope can be the eventual successor to Molina in St. Louis, is the club's No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline. He is also the No. 44 overall prospect in baseball and the No. 2 overall catching prospect.
Kelly, 23, made his Major League debut for the Cardinals with a 10-game stint in 2016, and he played 34 games for the big league club last season, although he struggled at the plate, hitting .174 in 75 plate appearances. Kelly was hitting .234 with a pair of home runs and 11 RBIs in 21 games at Triple-A this season.
David Adler MLB.com