Back in Miami, Mujica relishing time with St. Louis

Back in Miami, Mujica relishing time with St. Louis

MIAMI -- Edward Mujica is back in familiar surroundings, but wearing very different colors.

The Cardinals' closer returned to Marlins Park this weekend for the first time since being traded on July 31, 2012, for Minor League infielder Zack Cox. Mujica, who spent 1 1/2 seasons in Miami, was happy to be back for a few days.

"I feel good being back here," Mujica said. "I have my house here and I get to stay in it for these three days. I really am happy to be back here at Marlins Park."

Mujica's return allowed him to catch up with several of his old teammates, many of whom he has not seen since last July.

"You never forget your teammates," Mujica said. "I had a lot of good relationships with the guys in that clubhouse. I always talk to them when I see them and I'm really happy to see those guys this weekend."

While Mujica reminisced about his time as a Marlin, he has been outstanding as a Cardinal. He has appeared in 29 games with St. Louis this season entering Saturday, allowing just three earned runs over 26 1/3 innings.

"From the minute I got to St. Louis, they told me directly what my role would be and what the situation I needed to respond to was," Mujica said. "I think that made a huge difference for me as a player because the confidence they showed in me, and the communication they've had with me has been phenomenal."

The 2013 campaign has been even better for Mujica. The 29-year-old has filled in for injured closer Jason Motte with fantastic results. Mujica has a 1.82 ERA and 27 strikeouts to go with his 19 saves in 19 opportunities.

"The most important thing is confidence," Mujica said of his success as a Cardinal. "Confidence has been the key. When you're confident, you can focus better and pitch smarter in key situations."

Cardinals reliever Randy Choate was Mujica's teammate with the Marlins. The veteran left-hander believes Mujica has benefited greatly from having a defined role in St. Louis.

"He really knew that last year the seventh inning meant Mujica," Choate said. "He knew when to be ready and how to prepare. This year he's got the ninth. He prepares and knows he is going to be at the end of the game, and I think it makes a big difference to know his role."

Mujica has enjoyed his time in Cleveland, San Diego and Miami, but the eight-year veteran feels lucky to be with St. Louis.

"This is a team that plays really hard every day, tries to win and has fun with the game," Mujica said. "I am fortunate to be a part of it."

David Villavicencio is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.