Molina: Left thumb diagnosis 'good news'

Molina: Left thumb diagnosis 'good news'

ST. LOUIS -- Echoing the Cardinals' reaction to Monday's news that the ligament tear in Yadier Molina's left thumb was not significant enough to require surgery, the veteran catcher described the diagnosis as "good news" while speaking to the media for the first time since learning the specifics of his injury.

Molina injured the thumb tagging during a play at the plate in Sunday's win. Bracing for the possibility that the injury could have been as severe as the one he suffered last summer -- in that case, he missed seven weeks while recovering from surgery -- Molina was relieved to learn that he could be back on the field before the end of the regular season.

"I was expecting worse," Molina acknowledged on Tuesday. "I'm happy. Obviously, injuries are a part of the game. I'm just happy the news came out good."

Molina said his thumb isn't as swollen or tender now as it had been a day earlier, and he'll continue to ice it while refraining from all baseball activities. He'll be reevaluated by early next week to determine what the next step may be. Asked if he thought he'd be back behind the plate before the end of the regular season, Molina said: "I think so. I hope so."

"Obviously, you follow what the trainers say," he added. "You want to follow their lead. But you have to be patient. You can't rush things. Right now, I'm in that period. I want to take my time until it feels good."

Molina is three games away from tying Ted Simmons' record for games caught (1,439) as a Cardinal. He was also closing in on surpassing his career highs in starts (136) and innings caught (1176 2/3) before being sidelined. Molina is five starts and 27 innings shy of those marks right now.

With that workload, though, has come a slew of other minor bumps and bruises. Taking a glass-half-full perspective to the team's latest injury, manager Mike Matheny suggested this time off could actually be a benefit to Molina, who, if healthy, will catch every inning this postseason.

"Maybe a little extra time will help," Matheny said. "I think he would probably argue, because he just wants to play and this is the time of year he has worked so hard to be ready for. And this is the time when he normally shines, too. He has worked and had the discipline of getting his body in shape so he could be ready to push to the end. But he has been fighting some different injuries, not necessarily from fatigue, but from the position."

Worth noting

• On Tuesday, Matt Adams made his third start at first base since coming off the disabled list. Matheny said Adams is close to being cleared to remain in the field for all nine innings.

• Players and staff dressed in their game uniforms early Tuesday afternoon for the team's annual photo. They then all changed into K Cancer T-shirts for batting practice as part of Major League Baseball's initiative to bring awareness to the disease.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.