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Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals catcher, out 8-12 weeks with torn thumb ligament

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina argues a

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina argues a called third strike in first inning with home plate umpire Mike Everitt while taking on the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium. (Oct. 14, 2013) Credit: Getty

ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Cardinals All-Star catcher Yadier Molina will undergo surgery Friday to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb and could miss the rest of the season.

The team estimated Molina could be sidelined eight to 12 weeks. He's hoping to make it back in seven or eight weeks.

"Mentally, it's so frustrating," Molina said before Thursday night's game against the Pirates. "You play hard for something to happen like that, it's bad."

Molina was injured Wednesday when he planted his hand for balance after sliding feet-first into third base in the second inning. He caught another half-inning before Tony Cruz hit for him in the third.

The slide was the same as it's always been, except for one critical difference.

"This time," he said, "my thumb got stuck in the dirt."

Molina said it would take five weeks for the thumb to heal after surgery and then he'd begin a rehab program.

Catcher Audry Perez was recalled from Triple-A Memphis and will be the backup behind Cruz.

"I've got 100 percent confidence, I have no doubt he can do it," Molina said. "Tony's smart, he's a good player, a good hitter, a good catcher."

Molina was voted to his sixth straight NL All-Star team Sunday and is a starter for the fourth time. He was hitting .287 with seven homers and 30 RBIs.

He has been extremely durable, averaging 135 games the past six seasons. He missed two weeks with a sprained knee last season.

Now, he'll be an adviser and unofficial cheerleader for the defending National League champions.

"I will be in the dugout, I'll be with the team," Molina said. "I'm part of the team."

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