The Cardinals intend to begin a plan to reduce the workload on catcher Yadier Molina by having his Grapefruit League debut pushed back later than other veterans.

When the Cardinals open exhibition play Friday against Miami, Molina won’t be in the lineup and it could be several games before he gets his first start, manager Mike Matheny announced Monday before the team’s work. The intention is to get Molina a break now, during spring training, to help lighten the wear before the regular-season even comes into view.

“We’ll probably go a little slow getting him started,” Matheny said. “We’ve got a long way to go and he looks good. When we start talking about trying to conserve we could do that from the start, do that at the beginning.”

No catcher in the National League has more innings behind the plate the past three seasons than the Cardinals’ starter, a six-time Gold Glove award-winner. Molina led the NL in innings caught last season despite going on the disabled list with knee trouble. Over the past two seasons, as Molina twice finished in the top five for Most Valuable Player voting, the club has discussed a schedule that would build in off days for Molina to help his durability.

He started 37 of the Cardinals first 38 games last season.