Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday will participate in Major League Baseball's All-Star Game after unforeseen, unfortunate circumstances precluded catcher Yadier Molina from appearing in Kansas City.
The club placed Molina on its bereavement list Friday afternoon following the death of his wife's grandfather in Puerto Rico. The couple traveled to the commonwealth Friday night, and Molina will not be available for this weekend's series against the Miami Marlins at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals promoted catcher Bryan Anderson from Class AAA Memphis while giving Friday's start to Tony Cruz.
Molina's grandfather-in-law died after a prolonged illness. Manager Mike Matheny said he spoke to his Gold Glove catcher shortly after noon. Molina apologized for his absence several times, but Matheny assured his player that he belonged with family during a difficult time.
"With everything we've talked about here, saying anything else would have been hypocritical," said Matheny, who emphasized commitment to faith and family as well as team beginning in spring training.
This was to be Molina's fourth All-Star appearance. In Molina's place, Holliday will participate in his sixth, though admittedly not under circumstances he would prefer.
"It's always a pleasure and an honor to be part of it," said Holliday, who had planned a three-day vacation to Table Rock Lake before receiving Friday's eleventh-hour invitation. "Obviously, I feel for Yadi. But I'm privileged to be part of the game."
Molina is enjoying his best offensive season. He will reach the break hitting .304 with 13 home runs and 45 RBIs. He has done his best work with men in scoring position, hitting .377 with five home runs in such circumstances.
Holliday has been the major leagues' hottest hitter the last several weeks. He entered Friday's game hitting .318 with 14 home runs and 56 RBIs. Holliday was riding an eight-game hitting streak in which he was 14 for 29 with two home runs. He was also 34 for 68 (.500) with six home runs and 22 RBIs in his 18 games before Friday's game.
National League manager Tony La Russa acknowledged during a Wednesday conference call that Holliday had missed selection by a "paper-thin" margin. Through 82 games Holliday was only one home run shy of ranking in the league's top 10 in the three Triple Crown categories. Holliday's teammate, right fielder Carlos Beltran, Colorado Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez and Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen were the only NL players to share that distinction.
Holliday to take Molina's place at All-Star Game
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Jul 7