All-Star catcher Yadier Molina could miss the rest of the season if he undergoes right thumb surgery as expected.
Molina left Wednesday night's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the bottom of the third inning due to a right thumb sprain.
Molina appeared to sustain the injury sliding into third base advancing from second on right fielder Allen Craig's groundout to third in the second. Manager Mike Matheny and trainer Greg Hauck came out to check on him after the play.
The loss of Molina would be devastating for the Cardinals. The mainstay is a Gold Glove catcher whose value goes far beyond his statistical contributions.
He is first in batting average (.309) and wins-above replacement (17.5) among all catchers since 2011.
Recently voted to his sixth consecutive all-star game, the 31-year-old started at least 128 games in the previous five seasons and was batting .287 with seven home runs this season.
Veteran A.J. Pierzynski, designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday, could be one replacement option, but Pierzynski was batting .194 since June 1.
JETER NO. 1 IN JERSEY SALES
Heading into his 14th and final all-star game appearance, Derek Jeter remains atop the list of most popular MLB player jerseys, closely followed by some of the biggest names in the game as well as the young stars who are leading the next generation.
Derek Jeter's No. 2 jersey was the most popular MLB jersey since Opening Day.
Jeter was first on the top 20 list released by Major League Baseball and the players' association with San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and a pair of Boston Red Sox -- designated hitter David Ortiz and second baseman Dustin Pedroia -- rounding out the top five.
The list is based on Majestic jerseys from MLB.com and MLB Shop since the start of the 2014 regular season. Twelve of the top 20 are 27 years old or younger, tied for the most since MLB began publishing these rankings in 2010.
Three newcomers to the list are Freddie Freeman (Braves), Masahiro Tanaka (Yankees) and Anthony Rizzo (Cubs). Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and Angels outfielder Mike Trout were in the top five in jersey sales in June.
PAIR GRABS ALL-STAR SPOTS
Two players from Chicago won the fan vote Thursday for the final roster spots in the all-star game on Tuesday night at Target Field in Minneapolis.
White Sox pitcher Chris Sale and Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo were elected as the 34th player on each the American and National league teams in balloting sponsored by MLB.com during the past 92 hours.
Sale, who received 6.7 million votes, made his third All-Star team, beating out Garrett Richards of the Angels, Rick Porcello of the Detroit Tigers, Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians and Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros.
Rizzo, who got 8.8 million votes, won a tight race with Colorado Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau. Rizzo hit his third home run in three days on Wednesday night in Cincinnati.
PHILLIPS TO MISS 8-12 WEEKS
Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips will miss eight to 12 weeks following surgery for a torn thumb ligament, the team announced Thursday.
Phillips suffered his injury while making a sliding catch in the eighth inning of Wednesday's game against the Chicago Cubs. He wore a splint as he left the clubhouse.
Phillips, 33, has hit .272 with 19 doubles and seven home runs in 86 games this year.
The Reds promoted infielder Kris Negron from Triple-A Louisville after injuries to center fielder Billy Hamilton (hamstring) and Phillips.
In Thursday's game, Reds right-hander Homer Bailey left his start against the Cubs in the sixth inning with pain in the patellar tendon of his right knee.
YANKS PUT BELTRAN ON DL
The New York Yankees placed outfielder Carlos Beltran on the seven-day concussion disabled list Thursday after a batting practice mishap.
The Yankees also recalled infielder Yangervis Solarte from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after sending him down last week.
Beltran has two fractured bones in his face after being struck by a batted ball during batting practice Wednesday. A ball that Beltran hit bounced off the screen protecting the pitcher and struck his eye.
The 37-year-old has hit just .216 with nine home runs and 28 RBIs in 61 games.
Solarte was immediately placed in the starting lineup at third base for Thursday night's game at Cleveland.