Cards to play Montreal exhibitions vs. Jays in '18

Cards to play Montreal exhibitions vs. Jays in '18

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals will take a two-day detour to Montreal next spring between breaking camp in Jupiter, Fla., and traveling to New York for their 2018 regular-season opener.

The Blue Jays announced on Thursday that they will host the Cardinals at Olympic Stadium in their annual two-game exhibition series. The games are scheduled for March 26-27, and tickets for the games will go on sale at 11 a.m. CT on Saturday and can be purchased at evenko.ca. For the Cardinals, the trip to Montreal will be the organization's first since 2004, when the Expos played their final season there.

"I always liked Montreal. I thought it was a neat city," said manager Mike Matheny, who played 15 games at Olympic Stadium. "I would imagine with [baseball] being something that was taken away from them for a while that it will be a good atmosphere. The last few times I was there, it was almost empty. That was the only bad thing. Loved the city. Even the playing surface of the dome was fine. It was just dead. They didn't get support. So I imagine that when they get another opportunity, hopefully they pack it out and make it a fun atmosphere."

Following the two-day exhibition set, the Cardinals will continue on to New York, where they will begin a three-game series against the Mets on March 29. The team's road trip will then conclude in Milwaukee before the club arrives in St. Louis for its April 5 home opener.

The addition of a trip to Montreal takes the place of the exhibition games the Cardinals have played at their Memphis and Springfield (Mo.) affiliates in recent years. The Cardinals have not yet announced their Grapefruit League schedule.

Molina, Wong still sidelined

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina remained in concussion protocol on Thursday and unavailable for a third consecutive day. He has not been cleared to return since taking consecutive foul balls off his mask in Monday's loss to the Cubs.

Yadi takes two mask shots, exits

According to general manager Michael Girsch, Molina will be re-evaluated on Friday to determine his availability for the team's final regular-season series.

Second baseman Kolten Wong sat out of the Cardinals' lineup Thursday for a third straight game, as well, as he deals with tightness in his lower back. Wong took swings on Thursday to test his back, but it did not loosen up as he had hoped.

Worth noting

• Vladimir Tarasenko, an All-Star forward for the St. Louis Blues, will throw out a ceremonial first pitch as part of the St. Louis Blues Night at Busch Stadium on Friday. The Cardinals will wear Blues-themed jerseys during batting practice, and several Blues players will be in attendance for the game.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. 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.