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Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina has cast removed, status still uncertain

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina had the cast removed from his injured left thumb, but it will be some time before the team knows if he will be ready to start the season, general manager John Mozeliak said Sunday.

Molina has undergone two surgeries on the thumb during the offseason. The second surgery took place in December, and he was expected to be in a cast for four to five weeks.

"The cast came off. Obviously now it's about gaining strength back," Mozeliak told KMOX Radio in St. Louis. "I really think in about two to three weeks we should have a pretty good idea if he's on pace to be ready to go at the beginning of the season or not. But I think we've just got to be patient. But right now all arrows point positively, and that's exciting."

The second surgery took place because Molina was still experiencing discomfort in the thumb. The first operation came in mid-October after the Cardinals were eliminated by the Chicago Cubs in the NL Division Series.

After the first procedure, the Cardinals had anticipated he would be ready for spring training. After the second, the team hoped the eight-time Gold Glove winner and seven-time All-Star would be ready for Opening Day.

The 33-year-old Molina returned for the playoffs after injuring the thumb while tagging out the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo at the plate in Chicago on Sept. 20.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.