Yadi catches for first time since surgery

Yadi catches for first time since surgery

ST. LOUIS -- On Thursday, 34 days after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb, veteran catcher Yadier Molina crouched down to catch his first bullpen session since the injury.

Manager Mike Matheny noted afterward that Molina is on a quicker-than-expected track to recovery, as the medical staff has given him clearance to reintegrate baseball activities into his daily regimen. It was announced at the time of the surgery that Molina was expected to miss eight to 12 weeks. He will reach the five-week mark on Friday.

"I know right now that he is feeling like he wants to push it," Matheny said. "That's exactly what I would want him to do."

Molina, wearing a soft cast on his throwing hand, caught without issue and was able to lightly throw back the ball. Before heading out on a rehab assignment, he will have to show an ability to throw without a cast as well as swing a bat. Matheny expects gripping a bat and hitting to be the last things accomplished.

He also lauded the job Molina has done to stay fit while he's been inactive, and described Molina as "looking lighter than he did in Spring Training."

Molina, through a team spokesperson, declined a request to provide an update on his recovery.

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