ATLANTA -- The most distinguished catcher in franchise history has set another benchmark. With his start behind the plate in Friday's 7-4 win over the Braves, Yadier Molina passed Ted Simmons for the most games caught as a Cardinal.
Beginning with his Major League debut in 1968, Simmons caught 1,439 games with St. Louis over a 13-year span. Molina matched that total in Pittsburgh on Wednesday and surpassed it with his fourth start in this, his 13th season in a Cardinals uniform.
"To be at this level is hard to do for a long time," said Molina, an eight-time Gold Glove Award winner. "Obviously, when I signed after the 2000 Draft, I never thought I would be in this position. It's a great feeling."
Molina, 33, took over as the Cardinals' everyday backstop in 2005 and has caught at least 107 games in each season since. His 1,343 games started since the beginning of the '05 season tops the Majors. Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski sits behind him on that list with 1,270 starts.
On the all-time list of games started by a catcher, Molina has already cracked the top 30.
"I think every organization wants to have that player that you're able to keep for a long period of time and not just have somebody that goes out there, but have somebody that sets a new standard for how it's done," said manager Mike Matheny, who ranks seventh in games caught (611) by a Cardinal. "Being compared with Simmons, who was a great player and had a great career, is special. Yadi has been able to do some very special things, too."
• General manager John Mozeliak said it may not be until Monday that he receives the results of Marco Gonzales' elbow exam. Gonzales sought a second opinion this week from Dr. Neal ElAttrache after feeling some discomfort in his left elbow during the final week of Spring Training.
• Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha and Trevor Rosenthal took a short flight to Augusta, Ga., on Thursday to spend their off-day watching the Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.
• Friday marked the start of the Cardinals' final regular-season series at Turner Field, which opened in 1997 and will be reconfigured into a college football stadium after this season. Though the Cardinals have won both of their postseason games at Turner Field, they entered this series 24-43 in regular-season games there. The Braves will move into SunTrust Park in 2017.