"That's who raised his wife, who was very close with Yadi, also," Matheny continued. "His wife needed him there for support. He apologized a couple times, and I said, 'Man, it'd make us complete hypocrites around here if we didn't stick with what we said that keep the first things first.'"
Backup Tony Cruz started behind the plate and batted eighth for the Cardinals in Friday's opener against the Marlins. Cruz is hitting .196 with a home run and three doubles in 22 games this season.
Catcher Bryan Anderson was recalled from Triple-A Memphis and was expected to be in uniform and available on Friday. The 25-year-old Anderson was batting .210 with two home runs and 24 RBIs in 64 games with Memphis this season.
Matheny said he anticipates Cruz could play all three games this weekend. But considering that the temperature at game time for each contest is expected to be above 100 degrees, Matheny said he's not afraid to give Anderson a chance if Cruz gets fatigued.
"We're just gonna watch today, see how it goes, see how he feels, keep a close eye on him," Matheny said.
While it can't be easy to replace a four-time All-Star batting .304 with 45 RBIs this season, Matheny is confident in Cruz stepping in for Molina, considering the work ethic he's shown this season. Matheny gave Cruz the reins to call Friday's game, as Molina has done all season.
"Whenever Tony's had a chance, he's done a very good job," Matheny said. "It's hard enough as a backup player, but then to play behind someone that plays as often as Yadi does, especially in that position. He's constantly running back and forth to the bullpen, making sure he's catching every one of these guys every chance he gets. It's paying off. He's doing a nice job, and hopefully that can continue."