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Molina may be back behind the plate on Friday

Molina may be back behind the plate on Friday

PITTSBURGH -- Having gone through a Tuesday workout without any complications, Yadier Molina is scheduled to catch five innings as he begins a rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield on Wednesday. He could then be back in the Cardinals' lineup as early as Friday, when they open a home series against the Cubs.

Manager Mike Matheny acknowledged a Friday return as "a possibility," though that will obviously be contingent upon how the next two days go for Molina. Assuming all goes well on Wednesday, the veteran will be back behind the plate for Springfield on Thursday.

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These will mark Molina's first game appearances since he left a July 9 contest against the Pirates after tearing a ligament in his right thumb on a slide into third base. At the time, the Cards expected to be without Molina for eight to 12 weeks. Friday will be his seventh week since undergoing surgery.

If Molina does return before rosters expand on Monday, St. Louis will have to make a corresponding roster move to clear space for him. The club is content with keeping three catchers on the roster, and it would likely make the subtraction from the bullpen, which has featured eight relievers since Monday.

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.

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