By Rob Rains
JUPITER, Fla. – The applause could be heard from outside the walls of the Cardinals’ clubhouse.
It seems the rest of the Cardinals were happy Yadier Molina was in the building.
Molina, given permission to report late to spring training for undisclosed personal reasons, arrived on Monday, completed his physical and was soon on the field taking batting practice.
Even though Molina said he thought it would be several days before he will play in a game, manager Oli Marmol, only half in jest, said, “It wouldn’t surprise me if he asked to be in there today.”
Seriously, Marmol added, “We will sit down and figure out what he needs. If there is someone who gets ready quickly it’s him.”
Molina, speaking briefly to the media, said it had been difficult not being with the team since camp opened a week ago.
“It’s been tough the last couple of months but everything’s right right now,” he said. “I’m happy to be back.
“Not being with the guys since day one was tough but right now I’m here. I’m glad to see their faces. It’s fun.”
Molina said he knew he was going to have to report late, but wasn’t able to inform the team about that until the lockout ended.
“My agent talked to Mo (John Mozeliak) about it and we decided to figure out things down in Puerto Rico and that’s what I did,” he said. “Everything is good right now.”
Molina said when he walked into the clubhouse he was aware that this will be the last spring training of his playing career, having announced last season that he plans to retire at the end of the season.
“I know this is going to be my last (season) so I am going to enjoy it and try to help the team win,” he said.
The 39-year-old Molina, beginning his 19th season with the Cardinals, said he has been working out on his own and predicted it should not take long for him to be ready to play in a game.
“A couple of days, three days,” he said. “Getting at-bats is going to take four or five days to start playing games and be able to be on the field again. I haven’t seen pitchers since last year, that’s the toughest part.
“I would have loved to have been here since day one but they understand my situation.”
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