ST. LOUIS • Before the clock strikes midnight on 2018, the Cardinals expect catcher Yadier Molina to return to his offseason workouts after recovering from knee surgery Thursday to remove a bone spur.
Molina elected to have a procedure that removed a growth, or osteophyte, in his left knee joint that had caused him discomfort at times during the season. The spur would restrict movement in the joint or cause irritation that led to swelling, and Molina during the season suggested that he would have the knee examined at some point this offseason.
The Cardinals expect Molina to take two weeks to recover from the surgery and then return to his normal offseason workouts, general manager Michael Girsch wrote in an email.
Molina, 36, had his fourth consecutive season with at least 1,000 innings behind the plate despite missing more than a month to recover from emergency surgery to repair an injury near his groin. He won his ninth Gold Glove Award and finished the season with 20 home runs and 74 RBIs in 123 games.
The Cardinals traded his backup, rookie Carson Kelly, to Arizona with two other players for Paul Goldschmidt, and that has put the club in the market for a catcher who can spell Molina.
PROSPECT ROBERTS SUSPENDED
Griffin Roberts, who was billed as a quick-riser when the Cardinals took him 43rd overall in this past summer's draft, has been suspended 50 games by the commissioner's office after a second positive test for a drug of abuse. Roberts' suspension will come at the start of next season.
The 22-year-old righthander was 0-1 with a 5.59 ERA in eight games and limited work after the draft. At Wake Forest, Roberts grabbed attention with an above average fastball and a slider that some believed was the best breaking pitch from a college pitcher available in the draft. That combination of power fastball and elite slider had Roberts positioned to move swiftly as a reliever, though the Cardinals had entertained the idea of seeing how high and how fast he could climb as a starter.
Roberts finished this past season at High-A Palm Beach.
The drug-test policies for minor league players are more restrictive than they are for players on the 40-man roster when it comes to some drugs that are labeled as "drugs of abuse." The commissioner's office does not detail the specific drug that resulted in this suspension. A player on the 40-man roster would not be suspended for testing positive for the use of marijuana, but a minor-leaguer can be after a second positive test.