August 14: Cardinals (63-56) @ Padres (57-62)

Jenifer Langosch/

wpid-img_20140814_154619592.jpgAfter a disappointing 2-4 road trip, the Cardinals have returned to St. Louis for a seven-game homestand that first includes four games against the Padres. San Diego, despite being five games under .500, took two of three from the Cardinals two weeks ago.

The Cardinals will counter Padres lefty Eric Stults with a right-handed heavy lineup on Thursday. In are Peter Bourjos, Mark Ellis, Shane Robinson and Tony Cruz. Out are A.J. Pierzynski, Kolten Wong, Oscar Taveras and Jon Jay. Ellis is 6-for-13 in his career against Stults. Matt Holliday has also had some success against the lefty (albeit, in a smaller sample size), and his left knee was good enough for him to stay in the lineup. Holliday came out of Wednesday’s game in the seventh when that knee “flared up.”

Yadier Molina, who had the hard cast removed from his thumb last Friday, took another step forward in his recovery process as he caught a bullpen session this afternoon. He was able to lightly throw the ball back, though his thumb is now in a soft cast. Molina has hit the five-week mark since undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament. The expectation is that it would be an 8-to-12 week recovery before he is back on the field. The Cardinals are optimistic Molina will be on the quicker end of that range.

Jason Motte also provided an update on his status… which is basically status quo. Motte (lower back strain) has not resumed throwing and is still feeling some back discomfort while doing everyday activities. Though Motte is eligible to come off the DL on Sunday, It’s sounding more like he won’t be back until September, as he will not only have to resume throwing, but also go out on a rehab assignment before any activation.

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