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St. Louis Cardinals C Yadier Molina eyes Opening Day return from thumb injury

By The Sports Xchange   |   Updated Feb. 15, 2016 at 6:09 PM
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St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina no longer has a cast on his injured left thumb and has set Opening Day as the goal for his return.

"That's my goal, obviously," Molina told reporters after Monday's workout in Jupiter, Fla. "We'll have to wait and see, but I'm going to try to do my best to be in the Opening Day lineup."

Molina tore ligaments in the thumb when he applied a tag to Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo on Sept. 20. He continued to play until the Cardinals were eliminated in the postseason and then underwent surgery.

The thumb didn't heal properly and that prompted a second surgery in December.

That setback is the reason why Molina could be in jeopardy of missing the opener. Now that the cast is off, he will still be wearing a splint for at least two more weeks.

The plan is to begin catching in early March and then to start hitting later in the month.

"It's a little weak, a little weak right now," Molina said of the thumb. "I'm still working on the strength, and hopefully pretty soon I'll feel normal. I have a pretty good idea of what I'm looking for for Opening Day, but right now I'm just trying to concentrate on getting the strength back in my hand.

"My whole body feels good. I'm just trying to concentrate on my hand."

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