Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cards Move Quickly to Land Kottaras; Notebook; Lefthanded-Hitting Catcher Gives Team a Player with Some HR Potential

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cards Move Quickly to Land Kottaras; Notebook; Lefthanded-Hitting Catcher Gives Team a Player with Some HR Potential

Article excerpt

MILWAUKEE * Wary of waiting any longer, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak moved quickly Friday to replace injured catcher Yadier Molina as best he could by claiming lefthanded-hitting George Kottaras off waivers from Cleveland.

Kottaras, who had been designated for assignment on Tuesday, had three homers in his first three games for the Indians this year and drove in four runs overall while batting .286 in 10 games.

The 31-year-old previously had been with Boston, Milwaukee, Oakland and Kansas City. He has a career mark of .216 with 32 homers and 100 runs batted in over 305 games.

"The ability to do something quick was something that was driving this," Mozeliak said. "Also the fact that he is a lefthanded hitter was helpful."

John Buck and A.J. Pierzynski were two other catchers who were designated for assignment but that happened Wednesday and they wouldn't have been available until basically after the All-Star break.

"This gives us a little bit of a time out to keep exploring some other things should we need to," Mozeliak said.

The waiver claim was made by the Cardinals now rather than waiting to see if they could sign Kottaras, who makes $1.08 million, after he cleared.

"If we did that, he may have pursued other options," Mozeliak said. "The good thing about this is that's a waiver claim and it didn't cost us any young talent. It helps us in the short term."

Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke, who had Kottaras on his team here, said Kottaras was "OK" as a receiver but that he had some pop in his bat.

"He's a guy (the opposition) has to be worried about offensively, because he can hit the ball out of the ball park," Roenicke said. "He played great for us when we had him."

Mozeliak said, "My hope is that we play Cruz. I've always been an advocate to see what we have back there. This is a good opportunity to get him those at-bats and challenge him with that."

Kottaras is expected to join the Cardinals today. Molina will be out most of the rest of the season, if not all of it, with a torn ligament in his right thumb suffered on Wednesday. He underwent surgery on Friday and Mozeliak said the surgery went well but that the ligament had been torn completely.

Lefthander Jaime Garcia also was operated on to relieve a nerve problem, with one part of the surgery the removal of a rib. …

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