PITTSBURGH— A week from Monday, rosters expand. For once this season, the St. Louis Cardinals may need the room.
Yadier Molina and Michael Wacha head to Springfield this week to begin what the club hopes is the home stretch of their road back to rejoining the team.
Molina will go through a full workout with the AA club Tuesday, a final check before he sees live game action.
“He’ll do everything on the field. Going through batting practice, I’m sure doing some drills, do some early work and throwing,” Mike Matheny said in Pittsburgh Monday. “If all that checks out ok, he may be in a game as early as the following day.”
Molina had surgery on July 11 and was given an estimated recovery time of 8-12 weeks. Friday will be the end of the seventh.
The catcher has taken batting practice a couple times since the team left St. Louis on the road trip and reportedly feels right. Matheny wasn’t sure if Molina was swinging with tape on his injured thumb or a splint, but it doesn’t appear to be hampering his swing.
“I didn’t get the details on what he’s using when he’s actually swinging, but whatever he’s doing and whatever he has on feels right,” the manager said.
If Molina was ready before the rosters expand, the Cardinals would be forced to carry three catchers on their 25 man roster. The team could wait to activate him, but Matheny is not yet ready to start planning. Instead he simply said three healthy catchers is, “a good issue to have.”
“We’ll just wait and see how he feels after a full workout tomorrow, see where that goes. If he gets an opportunity to play, we’ll see how that goes. Trying to put a timetable on it isn’t fair right now,” he said.
The manager did say once Molina is cleared medically and says he feels good, the club is ready to utilize him.
“If every part of the game feels right and the medical staff is behind it, yeah we’re ready to figure out what the next step would be.”
Wacha, sidelined since June 18, will throw to hitters on Wednesday. He’s slotted for three innings of work and will throw around 40-45 pitches. Following a review of how his arm rebounds, the team will work toward game action with the righty.