Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  By STAN McNEAL  |  Last updated 8/14/13
ST. LOUIS -- Except for writing his name in the batting order, the Cardinals have given every indication that Yadier Molina's right knee has healed and he will return to the lineup Thursday afternoon. "Things look good right now," manager Mike Matheny said before Wednesday night's game against the Pirates. "I'm happy to be back tomorrow," said Molina before realizing he might have broken team protocol and spoken a tad prematurely. "It's not fun when you're on the DL even if the team is going good. Right now, I'm trying to get back tomorrow." While there is little doubt that Molina will play Thursday, what about Friday? Saturday? And next week, next month and, if all goes well for the Cardinals, October? Those are the real questions. Molina, 31, went on the disabled list two weeks ago because of inflammation in his surgically repaired right knee. This followed a stretch of playing 11 games in 12 days coming out of the All-Star break, which came after he had been rested for three days in early July when his right knee became an issue. Don't expect him to endure such a busy stretch during the 43 games remaining in the regular season. Matheny says the club has developed a plan for Molina's playing time and though the manager understandably wasn't specific, he said, "We're going to have to be careful. "We have an idea (of his schedule) but it's going to have to adjust to how he feels." Don't look for Molina to make their job easier. "Now is not the time to rest," he said after batting practice Wednesday. "Right now, you have to give whatever you can because it's only a month and a half (left)." Rest is helpful, Molina admitted, "But right now, my team needs me." The Cardinals had gone 6-7 with Molina on the DL before Wednesday night. Even after his 15-day stay on the DL, Molina has caught more innings than all but two catchers in the majors this season. When he went on the DL, Molina was hitting .330 and trailed in the NL batting race by one point. His deficit to Braves third baseman Chris Johnson was up to seven points entering Wednesday night. While the Cardinals would like to keep his bat in the lineup as much as possible, Matheny did not talk like playing Molina at first would provide much of a way to rest his knees. "First base is a spot on this club where when we have an opening, we have another kid we like to see in there, too," Matheny said, referring to lefty slugger Matt Adams. "That's really been kind of difficult at multiple times in the season. We could have used him at first but not when we're still trying to get Adams the playing time he needs to have." If he's not at first, Molina likely will be relegated to pinch-hitting duties at least once and perhaps even twice a week. It would seem unlikely that he would get behind the plate on any day game after he has caught the previous night. The Cardinals still have eight situations when they play in the afternoon following a night game. The Cardinals have finished their most grueling portion of the schedule but still do not have an inordinate number of days off remaining. Beginning Thursday, they play 14 more days before a scheduled off day. Following that are 10- and 16-game stretches between off days, before one final off day before a season-ending three-game series against the Cubs. Asked if he thinks his knee can be 100 percent the rest of the way, Molina replied, "I hope so." You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at stanmcneal@gmail.com
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kevin Love: Shoulder injury ‘just a stinger’

Nets’ Joe Johnson would ‘welcome’ a trade

Report: Grizzlies want Kevin Durant in free agency

WATCH: Karl-Anthony Towns throws down monster dunk

Dos Anjos: McGregor will 'break like a girl' at UFC 196

WATCH: D'Angelo Russell hit in groin by LeBron pass

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Kobe Bryant has great response to Tyronn Lue story

Report: St. Louis Blues no longer interested in Jonathan Drouin

Doc Rivers: Warriors have 'swagger' of defending champion

Damian Lillard added as a finalist for 2016 U.S. Olympic Team

Celtics legend Paul Pierce prepares for what ‘could be’ his last game in Boston

Free-agent WR Josh Morgan accidentally shot himself, charged with crime

Seven teams that must target a quarterback in 2016 NFL draft

Fighter says sex before fight partly to blame for loss

Kevin McHale: James Harden being out of shape hurt Rockets early

WATCH: Kevin Love re-injures left shoulder

Johnny Manziel’s grandpa on ex-girlfriend: ‘The girl has her problems’

Andy Dalton reunited with missing luggage thanks to social media

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson used to soak his ankles in urine

Why Tom Thibodeau needs to be in New York

Defensemen in high demand as NHL trade deadline looms

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Security guard indicted for assaulting University of Houston football fan

The LeBron-Kobe rivalry and Finals matchup that never was

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker