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Molina says he’s fine after offseason knee surgery

A healthy Yadier Molina will be a big help to the St. Louis Cardinals this season. The longtime star catcher had a minor cleanup procedure on his left knee in December. “My knee was pretty bad,” Molina said. “It had been bothering me for a long time.”

Yadier Molina [Lou Countryman photo]

  Playing the game at a high level is important to Molina. The 36-year-old Molina is a nine-time All-Star, has won nine Gold Gloves and is a two-time World Series champion. The Cardinals have reached the playoffs nine times with Molina, but have missed the postseason the last three years. That changes in 2019, he said. “I’m 100 percent sure we got what we need to win the Series. It’s up to us to stay healthy. We’re going to show the world we can do it. I can’t wait to get back in the playoffs,” Molina said. “With the experience we have, I guarantee we’re going to do some good things in the playoffs. I’m 100 percent pretty sure we’re going to make it this year.” St. Louis made a couple of big moves this offseason, getting slugging first baseman Paul Goldschmidt in a trade with Arizona and signing free agent reliever Andrew Miller. “We got a different team,” Molina said. “We had to do something. This year is different. It’s going to be a good year for us. We’ve got to have it this year. No excuses. “Hopefully, we’re going to be more aggressive. We’ll try to win it. That’s our goal.”

[Lou Countryman photo]

Veteran Matt Carpenter is equally excited about the 2019 season. “You say this every year because you feel like you have to, but you believe it,” said Carpenter, who will move to third base with the acquisition of Goldschmidt. “It feels different this year than in years past. “The pulse around here feels a little different. We’ve got a lot to prove, but man, this is as excited as I’ve ever been to start a season. There’s a good reason for that.” Molina always is a clubhouse leader. He also leads on the field. He’s averaged 133 games behind the plate over the past three seasons. Molina spent 1,017 2/3 innings behind the plate last season despite his troublesome knee. He hit a .261 average with 20 home runs and 74 RBIs. Molina has played his entire 15-year major league career with the Cardinals. He’s entering the second season of a three-year contract and said he plans to end his career with St. Louis. Last season, he said he wouldn’t play beyond his contract. Now, he’s hedging on that. “Right now, I’ve still got this year and one more year,” Molina said. “I made a statement down in Puerto Rico that I would love to play one more year but only for the Cardinals. If they don’t want me, I’m out. “It all depends on what happens in these next two years. If they want to do it one more time, I’ll only do it with the Cardinals. We’ll see what happens.”
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