Molina expected back for spring after thumb surgery

Seven-time All-Star catcher injured making tag vs. Cubs on Sept. 20

Molina expected back for spring after thumb surgery

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who played three games of the postseason with a compromised left thumb, underwent surgery on Thursday afternoon to repair torn ligaments in that thumb.

Molina will follow the procedure with 8-12 weeks of no baseball activity, general manager John Mozeliak said, but is expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training in February 2016.

"Had we not been a playoff team, we maybe would have dealt with it three weeks ago," Mozeliak said of Molina's need for surgery. "But it shows you how tough he is and how willing he was to help us."

Molina, a seven-time All-Star, injured his thumb while making a swipe tag in a Sept. 20 game against the Cubs. He sat out the rest of the regular season before returning to the field for the National League Division Series against the Cubs with that thumb in a splint. He started and finished the first two games of the series before exiting for a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning of Game 3. Molina, who went 1-for-8 in the NLDS, did not return to the field in Game 4.

Molina shaken up on swing

He said afterward that he "tried everything he could" to get himself ready to play, but ultimately had no strength left to grip a bat or squeeze his catcher's mitt closed.

Speaking at his annual end-of-season press conference, Mozeliak also provided the following injury updates:

Matt Belisle, who will become a free agent after the World Series, is having his right elbow scoped on Monday. Doctors expect it to be a relatively routine procedure, during which loose bone chips will be removed. Belisle went on the disabled list with an elbow injury in late June and then made just four appearances the rest of the way. He was left off the team's NLDS roster.

Carlos Martinez will spend the majority of the offseason rehabbing at the Cardinals' Florida facility in Jupiter. Martinez will continue to rest his ailing right shoulder and engage in therapy with the team's rehab staff. Martinez was shut down in late September after shoulder tightness forced him to leave his Sept. 25 start after six pitches.

Martinez's strong performance

Jordan Walden, who went on the DL on April 30 and then missed the rest of the season due to right biceps inflammation, will spend his winter rehabbing in Texas. The Cardinals are optimistic that he'll be at full health come the start of Spring Training.

Randal Grichuk, Matt Holliday and Jon Jay, all of whom dealt with injuries this season, do not expect to have any changes made to their normal offseason workout plans.

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