Matheny considers Girardi friend, mentor

Matheny considers Girardi friend, mentor

CINCINNATI -- The Yankees come to town for a three-game series beginning on Monday, and while much of the attention is on the Derek Jeter farewell tour, this also will be a series that pits former teammates as now opposing managers.

New York manager Joe Girardi closed his 15-year playing career in St. Louis, where he appeared in 16 games in 2003. Mike Matheny was the Cardinals' primary catcher that season.

Girardi became a big league manager before Matheny retired as a player, which is why the third-year Cardinals skipper sought out advice from Girardi upon being hired as manager by the Cardinals in November 2011.

"I'm a fan of Joe Girardi and how he goes about things and how he has handled a lot of adversity, how he's handled success," Matheny said. "I think our guys have a mutual respect for the game, a mutual respect for how it's supposed to be played, and how they're supposed to represent their franchise and their city. I think that's a great compliment.

"He's kind of been a resource since I got this opportunity. We have a lot of similarities, I think, in our thought processes, and just in general. It was nice to be able to be teammates and watch how he went about his business, and now kind of watching and following ever since he started managing."

The Yankees and Cardinals have combined for 38 World Series championships, and both have won more than any other team in their respective league. They also are two of four teams to be multiple World Series champs since 2000.

While the Cardinals will welcome Jeter to town with a sendoff gift for his impending retirement, former Cardinal Carlos Beltran will not be making the trip to St. Louis. He remains in New York while rehabbing an elbow injury. The Cardinals had planned to present Beltran with his 2013 National League championship ring had he made the trip.

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.