La Russa hopes Molina will be ready by opening day

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) - St. Louis manager Tony La Russa hopes catcher Yadier Molina will still be ready for opening day despite a right oblique injury.

La Russa said Thursday that Molina will likely sit out the rest of spring training. The team expects to know more Friday.

Molina was hurt sliding into second base on a double during the second inning against Baltimore on Wednesday. He was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner in 2009.

Jason LaRue was scheduled to start Thursday against the Mets. St. Louis brought up Matt Pagnozzi from minor league camp as a backup.

La Russa says the Cardinals will be "really patient and really optimistic" about the injury and that "we've got our fingers crossed for the early part of the season."

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