ST. LOUIS – Yadier Molina is expected to begin a rehab assignment Thursday night, a positive sign that the catcher could return to the St. Louis Cardinals very soon.

Molina will begin a rehab assignment Thursday with the Memphis Redbirds, the Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. He is expected to stick with the Redbirds through at least Friday. MLB.com’s Cardinals beat reporter John Denton says Molina could return to the lineup by the next homestand, which starts Aug. 2.

Now more than a month removed from his last MLB action, Molina landed on the injured list in mid-June with knee inflammation and spent some time away from the Cardinals in Puerto Rico. The 40-year-old has health with persistent knee soreness through much of the 2022 season.

Molina and Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright are nine starts away from making history as the MLB battery with the most starts. The duo has made 316 career starts together.

Prior to the injury, Molina was hitting .213 with two home runs and 10 RBI over 38 games this season. He was also throwing out runners at a 38% clip. Last month, he passed Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez for most putouts by a catcher in MLB history.