Baseball notes: Cardinals' Yadier Molina returns ahead of schedule

Catcher Yadier Molina, expected to miss at least 12 weeks with torn thumb ligament, returns after seven weeks

Catcher Yadier Molina was activated by the St. Louis Cardinals after missing seven weeks because of a torn ligament in his right thumb. He returned five weeks earlier than the most optimistic initial prognosis.

The All-Star catcher was activated from the 15-day disabled list Friday and was batting sixth in the opener of a weekend series against the Chicago Cubs.

“He's probably one of the toughest guys I've ever seen in the big leagues,” general manager John Mozeliak said. “He looks great.”

The 32-year-old Molina tore a ligament in his right thumb sliding into third base on July 9 and he underwent surgery two days later. He missed seven weeks, beating the original prognosis of eight to 12 weeks and perhaps the rest of the season.

“I feel good, 100% good,” Molina said. “Every part of my body feels great and I'm ready to go.”


Masahiro Tanaka was sent back to New York because of soreness in his right arm, a setback in his bid to rejoin the Yankees' rotation this season. Tanaka, 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA, hasn't pitched since July 8 because of a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. . . . The Mets put All-Star second baseman Daniel Murphy on the disabled list because of a right calf injury. . . . Seattle catcher Jesus Montero, rehabbing an oblique injury in Class-A ball, will not play again this season for the Mariners organization after a heated confrontation in the stands with a team scout during a minor league game in Boise, Idaho. . . . Kansas City designated left-hander Bruce Chen for assignment after six seasons with the team. . . . Cleveland activated catcher Yan Gomes from the seven-day concussion list.

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