The most watched thumb in baseball this summer belongs to Yadier Molina.
The St. Louis Cardinals' invaluable catcher tore ligaments in his right thumb last week, and he underwent surgery Friday.
The expected timeframe for Molina's recovery -- eight to 12 weeks -- means he might be able to return before the end of the regular season or possibly during the postseason. Then again, his prolonged absence might be the reason the Cardinals end up missing out on the playoffs.
Another team that will be keeping a close eye on the training room is the Cincinnati Reds, who are banking on the second-half return of two key hitters, second baseman Brandon Phillips and first baseman Joey Votto.
Phillips underwent left thumb surgery the same day Molina had right thumb surgery, and he might be able to return in late August. The timetable for Votto's return from a left quadriceps strain is uncertain.
The health of the Blue Jays' corner infielders, third baseman Brett Lawrie (right finger fracture) and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion (strained right quadriceps), will affect Toronto's chances of overtaking the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East.
Here is a team-by team look at the injury status of all 30 major league teams, as provided by The Sports Xchange's baseball correspondents:
All-Star LHP Patrick Corbin's season-ending-before-the-season-started Tommy John surgery was the biggest blow, but only the first. RHP Bronson Arroyo's year ended in June because of an elbow injury that also required elbow reconstruction, leaving the D-backs with rookies Chase Anderson, Mike Bolsinger, newcomer Vidal Nuno and reliever-turned-starter Josh Collmenter in the rotation heading into the break. OF Mark Trumbo, OF A.J. Pollock, INF Eric Chavez and INF Cliff Pennington all missed or will miss significant time.
The Rockies are starting to return to health, having welcomed back 3B Nolan Arenado, RF Carlos Gonzalez and LHP Brett Anderson in the past two weeks. However, RF Michael Cuddyer, the reigning NL batting champion, isn't likely to return until late August. RHP Jhoulys Chacin missed the first month with right shoulder inflammation, then struggled in May and June before the shoulder began giving him problems again. He likely is done for the year. RHP Tyler Chatwood made four starts in April before elbow soreness put him on the disabled list. He endured two setbacks, and he could be staring at a second Tommy John surgery.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
The Dodgers dealt with their share of injuries in the first half. The most costly one might prove to be the torn flexor tendon sustained by RHP Chad Billingsley. Already recovering from Tommy John surgery, Billingsley will not pitch in 2014, leaving the Dodgers with little depth in starting pitching. That could become more troublesome if RHP Josh Beckett's hip issue derails his outstanding comeback season. Beckett hopes to return before the end of the month.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
The Padres should be getting SS Everth Cabrera (hamstring), 2B Jedd Gyorko (plantar fasciitis) and 1B Yonder Alonso (right wrist inflammation) back shortly after the break. However, they were hitting .218, .162 and .210, respectively, at the time of their injuries. RHP Andrew Cashner (shoulder soreness) and RHP Nick Vincent (shoulder fatigue) also are expected to return shortly after the break, although Cashner is not yet throwing. LHP Cory Luebke and RHP Josh Johnson underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this year.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
CF Angel Pagan said he is going to be standing at the plate in Miami when the first pitch of the second half is thrown Friday. He will travel with the team to Florida, and a decision on whether he is healthy enough to be activated will be made prior to the opener against the Marlins. 2B Marco Scutaro returned from a back injury just prior to the All-Star break, so the Giants could have their frontline nine in the lineup this weekend for the first time all year.
INF Emilio Bonifacio, currently on the 15-day disabled list with an oblique strain, is working his way back with a rehab stint at the Cubs' rookie-level affiliate in the Arizona Rookie League. RHP Kyuji Fujikawa has spent the entire season sidelined while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he made a tentative step back with his recent work in Mesa, Ariz. RHP James McDonald, out since spring training with right shoulder problems, remains on the 60-day disabled list.
Cincinnati began the season with eight players on the disabled list. The Reds will start the second half without two stars, 2B Brandon Phillips (torn thumb ligament) and 1B Joey Votto (strained left quad), and they could be without veteran UT Skip Schumaker, who was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list after colliding with the right field wall attempting a catch on July 10. Phillips is out until at least late August, while the timetable for Votto's return is uncertain.
The Brewers' primary injury concern involves two relievers who are on the disabled list. RHP Jim Henderson and RHP Tyler Thornburg continue working their way back. Thornburg began a throwing program at the team's spring training facility last month, while Henderson is working his way through a minor league rehab assignment. He should be back with the Brewers not long after the break. LHP Wei-Chung Wang, a little-used Rule 5 pick, is sidelined due to left shoulder tightness.