- Associated Press - Monday, February 29, 2016

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) - For the first time this spring, the St. Louis Cardinals got to watch what they hope will be their opening day battery work together.

Yadier Molina caught his first bullpen in camp Monday, another step in his comeback from thumb surgery. Ace Adam Wainwright was on the mound.

“You want a guy who throws it where he wants to,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

An eight time All-Star, Molina is still recovering from his second offseason surgery on his left thumb. He was injured late last season making a tag at the plate.

Prior to Monday, Molina had only taken part in catching drills early in the morning before the start of the day’s official team workouts.

Matheny monitored Molina’s progress closely.

“He’s been pretty aggressive with it, so I’m not all that surprised that the trainers felt good” about Molina catching a bullpen session, Matheny said.

The NL Central champions haven’t set a timetable for Molina’s return. If his thumb shows it can handle the catching duties, he’ll work toward getting some at-bats.

Molina hit .270 with four home runs and 61 RBIs last season.

“We’ll see how this goes and then we’ll adjust from there,” Matheny said.

Molina watched as the Cardinals played an intrasquad game Monday. Randal Grichuk and Brayan Pena homered in the contest.

The Cardinals are off Tuesday. They begin exhibition play Wednesday against Florida Atlantic University.

Earlier this spring, Molina said his goal was to be ready for opening day. The Cardinals start the regular season on April 3 at Pittsburgh.

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