Molina in lineup vs. D-Backs pitcher who caused injury
St. Louis Cardinals: The team on Thursday activated catcher Yadier Molina, out more than a month with a broken left hand, off the 15-day disabled list and had him in the lineup against the pitcher whose inside delivery caused the injury. Molina had been sidelined with a hairline fracture since July 7 after being hit by a pitch from the Diamdondbacks' Claudio Vargas. Vargas was the Arizona starter in the finale of a three-game series against the Cardinals.
Molina, 22, is in his first year as the starter after Mike Matheny left for a free-agent deal with the Giants. He was batting .254 with five homers and 30 RBI in 74 games and had been particularly strong defensively, throwing out 12 of 23 base stealers.
Manager Tony La Russa said he was eager to activate Molina, perhaps to help pitcher Jason Marquis end a prolonged slump. Marquis entered with a five-game losing streak and had won only one of his last 11 starts.
"They were really good together, and this is a tough lineup," La Russa said. "If Marquis wasn't pitching, I probably would have waited 'til tomorrow."
Molina has been catching for some time. Hitting was his final test, and he participated in two days of batting practice without pain. Molina was activated without a rehab assignment because his defense is so important to the team. La Russa said he'd try to ease him back into playing, perhaps taking him out Thursday after Marquis was done, but also said Molina would play the next two days as well.
Outfielder Skip Schumacher was optioned to Triple-A Memphis and minor-league pitcher Jimmy Journell was sent outright off the 40-man roster to Memphis.
La Russa is keeping three catchers for at least the next few days as insurance. Einar Diaz and Mike Mahoney shared the job while Molina was out, and although Diaz is hitting .212 and Mahoney .164, the Cardinals were 22-13 while Molina was out.
Wakefield was struck on a comebacker by Casey Kotchman and fell down on the mound. He got up quickly but left the game in what was his team-leading 25th start of the season.
Wakefield (13-9) gave up six runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings, struck out five and walked four.
X-rays were negative, but he has a deep contusion of the lower shin area. The Red Sox said it was too early to know if he would make his next start. Wakefield didn't talk to reporters after the game.
"Wake is one of our most reliable starters and he has been over the years," center fielder Johnny Damon said. "It's a good thing there is no break, but he's going to be very sore."
Freel had the surgery to remove a free-floating piece of cartilage from his right knee. The 30-minute procedure was performed by Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek.
Placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, Freel is batting .282 with three homers, 15 RBI and 29 stolen bases this season, his fourth in the major leagues.
Gonzalez hit .229 with three homers and six RBI in 13 games this season with the Rangers. In 84 games at Oklahoma, he hit .338 with 18 homers and 65 RBI.
Gonzalez was the first overall pick in the 2000 draft by the Marlins and traded to Texas with two other minor-leaguers in July 2003 in the deal that sent closer Ugueth Urbina to the Marlins.
He made his major-league debut with the Rangers in 2004, hitting .238 (10-for-42) with one homer and seven RBI in 16 games.
Feldman did not appear in either of two games after having his contract purchased by the Rangers from Frisco, where he was 1-2 with a 2.54 ERA and 13 saves in 42 relief outings.
Gryboski suspended, fined: Reliever Kevin Gryboski was suspended for three games and fined an undisclosed amount for "inappropriate actions" following a game against the Red Sox earlier this month.
Major League Baseball announced the suspension but did not specify what Gryboski did to warrant it.
Gryboski took the loss in the Aug. 9 game after surrendering a game-winning single to Edgar Renteria in the bottom of the 10th. Earlier in the at-bat, Gryboski became agitated with a couple calls by plate umpire Derryl Cousins. The Red Sox won 8-7.
The Rangers, who acquired Gryboski in a trade with Atlanta last month, optioned him to Triple-A Oklahoma on Tuesday. He was scheduled to serve his suspension upon his return to the major leagues.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press