ST. LOUIS –  St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina became injured 29 games ago. He’s been in Puerto Rico reportedly nursing his aching knees.   

On Saturday, Molina showed up at the game of a pro basketball team he owns there. He was kicked out of the game for walking onto the court and booting the ball in disgust when a call went against his team.   

“I think when fans see him at a basketball game in Puerto Rico or something like that they say, ‘Hey man, where are you?’” said Ben Frederickson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist.  

Frederickson wrote a column a few days earlier noting that the Cardinals’ approach to Molina’s time off seemed to be shifting. Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright said, ‘we’ve got our whole lives to be retired.’ 

“I know the team talks to him all the time; whether it’s Albert Pujols, Adam Wainwright, or Oliver Marmol,” said Frederickson. “I think they’re confident he has one more Yadi-like resurgence in him. “It’s not, ‘Hey where are you, or we’re upset you’re gone.’ It’s ‘Hey we need you. Come back and be a part of this.’ Specifically from Adam Wainwright, he’s saying, ‘Hey man, we’ve got nine more starts to make together. Let’s break this record.”   

Yadi and Waino even have their own Budweiser commercial.  A commemorative “Best Buds” can be released soon. Nine more games and they will have started more as pitcher and catcher than any two players, ever.   

“I would give him the benefit of the doubt,” said Cardinals fan Linda Merrick.   

Another fan expressed their thoughts on Molina’s possible return.

“I have nothing to say other than I love Yadi,” said English said. “It’s always time for him to come back.” 

Frederickson said Molina is a leader “who’s going to lift his team up.”

“If he walks through that clubhouse, where he’s in the lineup or not, he’s going to lift this team up because he’s still a leader of this team,” said Frederickson.  

According to team officials, the plan is for Yadi to begin a minor league rehab assignment next week and then be ready to join the Cardinals on August 2 for the first home game after the All-Star break.  The Cardinals play the Cubs.  

The Cardinals have 68 games to play enough for Yadi and Waino to start 12 or more games together if they can stay healthy.