Page last updated on Sun Oct 23 16:24:18 EDT 2016
Wed, 16 Nov 2011 03:48 AM EST

The St. Louis Cardinals hired his former catcher Mike Matheny as the new manager for two years with an option to renew the agreement for a third season. Football lines

The World Series champion said they are not worried because Matheny has never led a team in the major league.

“Many people may question this hire for his lack of experience,” general manager John Mozeliak said at a news conference Monday to introduce Matheny. “All arrows pointed to Mike. In the end, the decision became very clear.”

Matheny replaces La Russa after he retired by winning the World Series last month. Mozeliak said that the four-time Gold Glove catcher was highlighted in a list of candidates started with 35 names and ended up in a group of six finalists, including Terry Francona, Ryan Sandberg and Jose Oquendo, third base coach of the Cardinals.

Jose Oquendo worked twelve years with La Russa after a decade playing for the Cardinals and already had several interviews to be a manager in the major league. Football betting lines

Matheny, 41, donned a jersey number 22 of the Cardinals in the same room in which La Russa retired two weeks ago and said it was “the greatest honor of my life.”

“I would say to the Cardinal fans, I can’t tell you how excited I am about this opportunity,” Matheny said. “I know there’s a high level of expectation. If I didn’t think I could do it, I certainly wouldn’t have walked into the interview process.”

The Cardinals hope to define the coaching staff soon. Mozeliak said the pitching coach Dave Duncan is likely to continue in his position, having one year contract, and Oquendo could also continue in his post.

“I don’t know if the word consulting is right,” Mozeliak said. “He was someone I kept abreast of the process. I always welcome his opinion.”

Matheny is the youngest manager of the Cardinals since Jack Krol assumed at age 41 in 1978.

Matheny playing career blossomed after he signed a one-year free agent deal to be the backup catcher in Saint Louis. Despite a .239 career hits, Matheny did enough defensively to win a spot as a starter. Matheny was with the Giants when his career ended with a concussion in 2006. He said he has been without symptoms for about 1 1/2 years.

Without experience in leading teams, Matheny served as a coach of minor leagues players.

He played 13 seasons in the major lague with Milwaukee, Toronto and also played for St. Louis between 2000 and 2004 and won three Gold Gloves, an award he also achieved once when he played with San Francisco.

Former Boston manager Terry Francona was the only candidate who had significant experience managing the major league. He left the Red Sox after the team collapsed in September. José Oquendo coached for La Russa twelve years after playing the last decade of his career with the Cardinals and had a handful of interviews for the openings of management.

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