Jupiter, Fla. — Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina has had the cast removed from his surgically repaired left thumb.
St. Louis officials said the cast was removed recently but did not provide the exact date.
The seven-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove winner is among several players already at spring training ahead of St. Louis’ first workout Thursday. He hopes to be ready for Opening Day.
Molina was hampered in the postseason by the injury sustained making a tag Sept. 20. The 33-year-old had two operations after the National League Central champions were eliminated by the Cubs in the Division Series.
St. Louis signed a backup catcher with plenty of starting experience, Brayan Pena, who could open the season as the starter, if necessary.
Molina has spent his entier career with one team longer than anyone else in the National League — 11 years, 123 days. That is 48 days longer than that of third baseman David Wright’s tenure with the Mets.
“I would love to (finish his career) here,” Molina said. “I love the city, I love the team, I love the organization.”
The catcher hit .270 with four home runs and 61 RBIs last season.
Around the horn
Designated hitter Evan Gattis and the Astros avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to a $3.4 million, one-year contract.
The deal was reached before a scheduled hearing Tuesday. It calls for a $3.3 million salary this year and includes a $5.2 million club option for 2017 with a $100,000 buyout.
Gattis had surgery Feb. 10 to repair a sports hernia, and the Astros said then he would be sidelined four to six weeks.
... Reliever Carlos Marmol agreed to a minor league deal with the Red Sox and will attend big league spring training as a non-roster invitee.
The right-hander, 33, is 23-35 with 117 saves and a 3.57 ERA during his major league career.
He spent time with the Cubs, Dodgers and Marlins.
Marmol spent last season with Triple A Columbus in the Indians system, going 3-1 with a 2.03 ERA in 28 appearances.