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Molina returns to Cards as Martinez heads to IL

The Cardinals are making some big roster moves before Tuesday’s series opener against the Royals. Yadier Molina is finally back with the team — and outfield prospect Randy Arozarena is joining the big league club for the first time.

St. Louis will activate Molina from the 10-day injured list, the team announced, after the veteran catcher missed more than a month with a right thumb tendon strain. The Cardinals are also calling up their No. 12 prospect Arozarena, who was raking at Triple-A Memphis.

Arozarena was hitting .368/.442/.562 with seven homers, eight stolen bases and a 1.004 OPS in 52 games at Memphis. In 80 Minor League games overall between Double-A Springfield and Memphis, the 24-year-old Cuban native was hitting .349/.435/.547 with 10 homers and 16 steals.

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In his last 10 games with the Redbirds, he was batting .371 (13-for-35) and was riding a 37-game on-base streak before Sunday’s game with 15 multi-hit games during that span. He became the third Redbird in franchise history to hit for the cycle on July 26 and accomplished the feat in his first four at-bats.

“He’s done a lot of what he needs to do offensively,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said on Friday. “He’s got a really high OPS. … Defensively, he’s capable, we’ve seen that. There’s nothing else he really needs to be able to prove. “

Arozarena will wear No. 66 and fills the last spot on the Cardinals’ 40-man roster.

But Arozarena’s callup comes with some bad news — he’s replacing Jose Martinez, who will be placed on the 10-day IL with a right shoulder AC joint sprain. Martinez hurt his shoulder in Sunday’s game when he bumped into the outfield wall making a catch on Elias Diaz’s deep fly ball. He exited the game in the top of the fifth inning.

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Categories: Sports