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Perez learning catching trade from Molina, Cards

Perez learning catching trade from Molina, Cards

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ST. LOUIS -- Audry Perez has some very qualified teachers at his disposal.

Before Saturday's game, the 24-year-old catcher received instruction from a group that included two Gold Glove winners -- manager Mike Matheny and Yadier Molina, who have nine awards between them -- a pair of veteran catchers in Rob Johnson and Tony Cruz, and a bullpen catcher, Jamie Pogue, who spent time in the Cardinals' Minor League system.

"He's playing with, in my humble opinion, the best catcher to ever live in Yadi," Johnson said. "And Yadi is more than willing to help anybody that comes along. … And your manager is a Gold Glove-caliber catcher when he played, so he's got a lot of influence and a lot of knowledge and wisdom."

The focus of the session was fine-tuning Perez's footwork to quicken and improve the consistency of his throw in an effort to take full advantage of his strong arm. Molina, who appeared to be the most active instructor, has proved invaluable for the young catcher getting his first taste of the big leagues.

"It's good. Yadi and Matheny are good catchers," Perez said. "I listen, I practice every day. Watching Yadi catch, it's good for me."

"Anything Yadi says is gold to these guys, and it should be," Matheny said. "Coaches will say things and, yeah, it'll carry some weight. But when Yadi takes the time to come out there, that's pretty special."

And it isn't just a one-way street. Johnson said Molina regularly solicits feedback from his teammates in the same way they will approach him for advice.

"Which is really unique with that kind of caliber to player to say, 'Hey, watch me, if you see something that I'm doing, point it out to me as well,'" Johnson said. "That just tells you what kind of guy he is."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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