Report: Minus cast, Yadier Molina hopes to be ready for Opening Day

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is expected to return in time for Opening Day.
Scott Kane/Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina has undergone two offseason thumb surgeries on his right hand. The first occurred shortly after the Cardinals were eliminated by the Chicago Cubs in the NLDS, the second — after the first didn’t take — was two months later. 

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Though Molina, 33, is still expected to miss most of spring training rehabbing, the cast protecting the repaired thumb has been removed and the catcher will resume baseball activities, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The St. Louis pitching staff typically performs better with Molina behind the plate. Though he’s expected to return to game action by Opening Day — "That’s what I want," he told the Post-Dispatch — the Cardinals did sign Brayan Pena to back up Molina on a two-year, $5 million deal over the offseason. 

Molina caught in 134 games in 2015, missing some games in the latter part of the season due to the injury. He batted .270 in 530 plate appearances with 61 RBI.