(Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)
Since the off-season began, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina made it a goal to be able to start come April 3rd, which is Opening Day. And while he is quite a while away from picking up a bat and swinging at the plate, he has finally started to participate in catching drills.
According to manager Mike Matheny, Molina caught balls that were thrown from a pitching machine on Friday.
“This will work well in terms of getting his arm closer to where he wants it to be,” Matheny said.
On September 20th against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, Molina injured his left thumb while behind the plate, and the injury was later to be revealed as a partial ligament tear. Despite that, he won his eighth consecutive Gold Glove Award and his fourth Platinum Glove Award for the 2015 season.
In December, Molina had yet another surgery on his left thumb, which further pushed back his return date back towards the late-end of spring training. During the off-season free agency period, the Cardinals added veteran catcher Brayan Pena to add reliable depth to the catcher position, also in turn filling the void left with Tony Cruz no longer on the team.
When participating during drills on Friday, Molina also wore a splint under his glove, but the 32-year old is very optimistic about where he’s at as far as progress is concerned.
“It feels good,” Molina said. “It’s getting stronger.”
With six weeks to go until the first game of the season, in which the Cardinals will face the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park, Molina has plenty of time to reach his goal. And as the days go by, it looks like a goal that will be able to be accomplished.
“That’s what I want,” he said. “It’s still too soon to say, but that’s what I want. That’s my goal.”