The team says Kottaras likely will be added to the 25-man roster Saturday in Milwaukee. The Cardinals begin a three-game series Friday against the Brewers. Kottaras was batting .286 with three homers and four RBIs in 10 games for Cleveland.
The Cardinals said Molina had surgery Friday to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. He was hurt Wednesday planting his hand to prepare for a feet-first slide into third base during a 5-2 win over Pittsburgh.
Molina was batting .287 with seven homers and 30 RBIs. Though he could miss the rest of the rest of the season, Molina hopes to be back within eight weeks. Voted the starter in next week's All-Star game, Molina will be replaced in the lineup by Milwaukee's Jonathan Lucroy.
With Molina out, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak is seeking more options behind the plate.
''I think we were just fortuitous in the sense of the timing, but now it gives us a little bit of a timeout to keep exploring other things should we need to,'' he said.
The Cardinals also activated starter Joe Kelly following a stint on the 60-day disabled list because of an injured left hamstring. He was to start Friday in Milwaukee, where he was hurt April 16.
Left-hander Tyler Lyons was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Kelly.
The team said left-handed starter Jaime Garcia had thoracic outlet surgery Friday to remove part of a rib in hopes of relieving nerve issues and numbness in his hand. Garcia was moved from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.