ST. LOUIS -- As the national profile of Yadier Molina climbs into the superstar stratosphere, manager Mike Matheny has a reaction that many Cardinals fans can relate to.
"What's taken so long," Matheny asks.
Matheny, of course, has long extolled the virtues of the 29-year-old catcher. The skipper sees Molina handle the Cardinals' pitching staff like a coach. He sees Molina shut down running games, turn balls into strikes with his pitch framing and block bouncers in the dirt. And oh yeah, he sees Molina with the best batting average in the National League, .353 going into Tuesday night's game at Houston.
Now the rest of the baseball world seems to be catching on to what Matheny has seen for years.
The two latest examples of Molina's rising stardom:
-- He moved past Buster Posey into first place in All-Star balloting by the fans. Molina not only leads Posey, the N.L. MVP, at the catcher position, Molina has collected more votes than any player in the National League.
-- In an ...