Yadier returns to Cardinals' lineup; Heyward out

Yadier returns to Cardinals' lineup; Heyward out

ST. LOUIS -- After missing two games while nursing soreness in his right knee, Yadier Molina returned behind the plate for the Cardinals on Monday. Right fielder Jason Heyward, who suffered a left groin strain on Sunday, did not join him on the field, though Heyward's absence is also expected to be brief.

Heyward had a consultation with the team's medical staff on Monday and was cleared for all on-field activity. Manager Mike Matheny said he intended to give Heyward a day off amid this stretch of 20 games in 20 days anyway, which made it an easy decision to make Monday that day.

Heyward did participate in pregame batting practice and will be available off the bench. He felt the groin pull after chasing a ball into the right-field corner and then planting to throw it. Heyward was removed from the game immediately for precautionary reasons.

"It was just a freak kind of play," he said. "I went to make a play and my body kind of went two ways at once. That's about it. With it being this point in the season, you just want to do everything you can to make sure something doesn't linger to the next month or beyond."

Heyward exits game

Molina missed two games after taking a foul tip off his knee in the fourth inning on Friday. He was available as a pinch-hitter on Sunday but was not called upon. The knee loosened up enough by Monday that it no longer prevented Molina from getting into his squatting position.

• Matheny implied that the Cardinals will likely continue to carry three catchers on the roster for a few more days. The club will have to make a roster move after Wednesday's game to add a starter for Thursday's game. At that time, the club can clear space by sending out Cody Stanley.

• Outfielder Randal Grichuk (lower back strain) took swings off a tee on Monday, but he is still not expected to be ready to come off the disabled list on Saturday, his first date of eligibility.

• A taped outline of a body showed up on the Busch Stadium outfield wall Monday, with rumor being that it was designed by Matt Holliday for teammate Mark Reynolds. Players were ribbing Reynolds for running face-first into the wall on Sunday as he made a catch in left field. Reynolds ended up taking another hit soon after in what was his first career start at the position. Reynolds played right field on Monday.

Reynolds' wall-crashing catch

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.