Yadier Molina and Michael Wacha are getting closer for the Cardinals

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The Cardinals are just one game back of the Brewers in the loss column in the National League Central and they could be back to full strength soon.

Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that if all goes well during a full workout tomorrow, Molina could begin a minor league rehab assignment as soon as Wednesday. When the veteran backstop tore a ligament in his right thumb on July 9, the initial fear was that he would miss the remainder of the regular season, but he now appears on track to rejoin the Cardinals for the final month.

Meanwhile, Langosch reports that Wacha is scheduled to throw live batting practice to Springfield hitters on Wednesday. The 23-year-old right-hander has been sidelined since mid-June with a stress reaction in his shoulder, but the Cardinals are hopeful that he’ll be able to pitch in September.

UPDATE: Even better news for the Cardinals here, as Molina will apparently begin his rehab stint on Tuesday:

Giants tab Madison Bumgarner to start Opening Day

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Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports that the Giants, to the shock of absolutely no one, have tabbed Madison Bumgarner to start on Opening Day, March 29 in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. He’ll pitch opposite Clayton Kershaw.

This will be the fifth consecutive season in which Bumgarner has started on Opening Day for the Giants. His five total Opening Day starts is still way behind the club record held by Juan Marichal, who started 10 Opening Days, including six consecutively from 1964-69.

Bumgarner, 28, missed nearly two months in the first half last season due to a dirt bike accident. He still managed to have a great season, compiling a 3.32 ERA with a 101/20 K/BB ratio in 111 innings.