ST. LOUIS — The Springfield Cardinals will have a couple of special guests to help them through the final week of the season.
It’s no certainty that Yadier Molina or Michael Wacha will even get in a game, but their presence at Springfield should give some kind of lift to the Class AA Cardinals as they fight for their Texas League playoff lives this week with a four-game series against first-place Arkansas.
Of course, the real boost that Molina and Wacha are hoping to provide is to the big-league Cardinals. Taking their rehabs to Springfield is a big step in making that happen, too. Molina, out since July 9 with a torn ligament in his right thumb, has progressed steadily since being cleared for baseball activities on the last homestand.
Molina could appear in a game as soon as Wednesday for Springfield, according to mlb.com. If so, he would be in excellent position to return sometime next week. The Cardinals said they expected Molina to miss at least eight weeks; the eight-week mark would be Wednesday, Sept. 3.
Wacha is scheduled to throw live batting practice at Springfield on Wednesday, which will be the first time he has faced hitters since his last start June 17. Wacha, out with an issue with his right scapula, has been throwing bullpen sessions on about an every-other-day schedule for the past two weeks. If he continues on the same recovery path, his return could be just a couple of weeks away.
GM John Mozeliak has said that Wacha is more likely to return as a starter, but where he pitches could depend on where he is needed.