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Yadier Molina misses start of Cardinals spring training for 'personal issues'

It could be Molina's last season.
Credit: AP
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) gets a fist bump from catcher Yadier Molina as they walk to the dugout before the start of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

JUPITER, Fla. — St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina will be a late arrival for what could be his final spring training.

Molina, 39, is heading into his 19th and likely final season with St. Louis. The 10-time All-Star and nine-time Gold Glove winner agreed to a $10 million, one-year deal in August.

“I don’t have any details other than he had reached out to me a few days ago just saying that he was going to be delayed for personal issues,” St. Louis President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said Monday. “I said that’s fine. I do hope to talk to him in the next few days to get a little clarity.”

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Relievers Genesis Cabrera and Giovanny Gallegos also will be late arrivals. Cabrera experienced issues with his flight. Gallegos is late for personal reasons.

Right-hander Alex Reyes, a 2021 All-Star who saved 29 games, is experiencing issues with his shoulder. St. Louis sent him for more tests, and Mozeliak wouldn’t speculate as to when Reyes will appear this spring.

Reyes, 27, is expected to compete for a spot in the starting rotation.

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Adam Wainwright got right back to work, throwing the team's first live bullpen session of the spring. The 40-year-old Wainwright also is beginning what could be his final major league season.

Nolan Arenado drove a Wainwright pitch over the wall in right-center. When Arenado's fellow hitters cheered the homer, Wainwright stepped to the front of the mound, plucked a few blades of grass and tossed them into a wind gusting out to right.

“It was wind-aided,” Wainwright said afterward in the clubhouse. “It would have been a double.”

Wainwright’s stroll to the mound drew cheers from a group of Cardinals fans gathered among the back fields. COVID-19 protocols prevented fans from watching spring training in person last year.

“The fans are back, how great is that?” Wainwright said. “It feels like baseball again.”

Wainwright is coming off one of his best seasons, going 17-7 with a 3.05 ERA in 32 starts last year.

Facing Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt and Tyler O’Neill, the 6-foot-7 right-hander showcased his full arsenal for about 35 pitches.

“His sinker was running good,” O’Neill said. “He was throwing a nice changeup off that. Obviously, he’s got the Uncle Charlie. It was classic Waino out there.”

As Wainwright neared his pitch limit, Arenado requested one more at-bat. He promptly smacked a single to left off a changeup Wainwright left up in the zone.

Walking off the mound, Wainwright playfully threw his glove at Arenado, then hugged him.

“It was exciting,” Wainwright said “I felt like I was on the stage or something. I was having fun. It was fun. I was trying to perform a little bit.”

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