PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina wrapped up World Baseball Classic play on Tuesday, flew across the country back to Jupiter, Fla., on Wednesday, and were given the day off by manager Mike Matheny on Thursday. On Friday, however, the two are expected back in camp, where they'll have one more week to prepare for Spring Training.
Matheny said he plans to insert both in the lineup for the first time post-Classic on Saturday.
Molina, who was named to the All-Classic Team, hit .259 while playing in seven of Puerto Rico's nine games. His most significant contributions, though, came defensively, as he helped lead a Puerto Rican pitching staff lacking in stars to a 2.88 team ERA. Molina's presence behind the plate is something the Cardinals have missed over the past three weeks.
"He's a leader on this team," Matheny said. "He leads by example. For a lot of these young pitchers, a lot that we've already sent out [to Minor League camp], [they] never had a chance to throw to him and get an interpretation of what he sees."
Beltran played in all nine Classic games but struggled offensively. He hit .188, drove in one and scored four runs.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.