Yadier Molina swings a bat for first time since surgery for ligament tear in his right thumb

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Yadier Molina is beginning to make some progress.

Brian Stull of STL Baseball Weekly reports that the star catcher took swings in an indoor batting cage Wednesday at Busch Stadium for the first time since tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb July 9 on an awkward side-swiping slide into third base. That injury required surgery and the Cardinals have been using A.J. Pierzynski and Tony Cruz behind the plate as they try to catch the Brewers at the top of the National League Central standings.

Molina has been catching bullpen sessions and taking light infield practice for over a week, and he may be ready for simulated action — or even a rehab assignment — by the end of August. The six-time Gold Glove Award winner and six-time National League All-Star appears to be on track to rejoin the Cardinals’ active roster around the second week of September.

Justin Verlander earns 200th career win

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Astros starter Justin Verlander wasn’t his usual dominant self on Sunday against the Athletics, but he was good enough to get the win. In doing so, he earned the 200th win of his career, becoming the 117th member of the 200-win club.

Verlander went 5 1/3 innings, yielding four runs (all earned) on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts. On the season, Verlander is now 12-8 with a 2.65 ERA and a 223/29 K/BB ratio in 169 2/3 innings. Sunday’s win helped the Astros stave off the surging A’s. The Astros now have a one-game lead in the AL West.

Only two active pitchers have more wins than Verlander: Bartolo Colon (247) and CC Sabathia (244). Zack Greinke will likely be the next member of the 200-win club as he currently has 184 to his name.