St. Louis Cardinals star catcher Yadier Molina had thumb surgery on Oct. 15 to repair a partially torn ligament originally suffered on Sept. 20 against the Chicago Cubs. He has returned to action, but his status for Opening Day is unknown.
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Friday, March 25
When asked about whether Molina would be ready for Opening Day, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told reporters: "He's ready. We will continue to monitor strength and keep testing him, but right now everything is in a good spot."
"You can make whatever kind of projections you want. There is nothing left for him to check off. So, he's just one of our other players. Look forward to him continuing to get timed up as far as his at-bats go, which he is looking very good at also. Just make sure as he continues to get more chances to play that he continues to have good responses in the training room with all the strength. But so far, he is right where we hoped he would be."
Molina Remains Among Baseball's Elite Catchers
Despite the recent health trouble, Molina has managed to remain among the best at his position in all of baseball.
The seven-time All-Star entered 2016 with a .283 career batting average but is even more renowned for his tremendous defense, which has earned him eight straight Gold Glove awards. He is absolutely irreplaceable behind the plate.
St. Louis did well in the offseason to upgrade its depth behind Molina by acquiring Brayan Pena with a two-year contract through free agency. The prior Cincinnati Reds backstop figures to fill in until Molina fully recovers and is a switch-hitter who brings an interesting twist to the Cardinals lineup.