Now Commenting On:

LaRue returns; Molina remains out

LaRue returns; Molina remains out

MINNEAPOLIS -- Only one question remains on the day before the Cardinals are required to set their Opening Day roster. Jason LaRue and Blake Hawksworth both played in Saturday's exhibition finale against the Twins at Target Field, leaving only Yadier Molina's status uncertain in advance of Monday's opener in Cincinnati.

LaRue, who suffered a bone bruise on his left hand on Tuesday, was not originally listed when manager Tony La Russa posted the Cardinals' lineup on Saturday morning. But after LaRue took batting practice on the field at the new Minnesota ballpark, he was cleared and took Matt Pagnozzi's place in the starting nine. LaRue went 2-for-2 with an RBI and played six innings.

"He did a good job," La Russa said. "Swung the bat well. One of the highlights."

Hawksworth, meanwhile, had expected to pitch Saturday after throwing a bullpen session on Thursday. He has been dealing with right groin soreness. He allowed a run on three hits, but came through the outing without incident.

Molina has not played since March 24, when he suffered a strained right oblique muscle. Like LaRue, Molina took batting practice on the field on Saturday for the first time since he got injured. He also caught a bullpen session on Friday, and signs point toward him being on the active roster on Monday -- if not necessarily available to play.

"Everything went great, how I expected," Molina said. "I took hitting outside, running, throwing, everything felt good. Hopefully tomorrow when I wake up, it will feel good."

If it appears Molina will be unavailable for only a few days to start the season, the Cardinals would be willing to place him on the active roster and use Nick Stavinoha as the backup to LaRue. Stavinoha caught in college and has arrived early and worked out with catchers the past two springs.

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español