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Admiration mutual between Girardi, Matheny

Admiration mutual between Girardi, Matheny

ST LOUIS -- Back in 2003, Joe Girardi and Mike Matheny shared a clubhouse in St. Louis.

The two former catchers found themselves back together here this week at the helm of each clubhouse, with Girardi managing the Yankees and Matheny leading the Cardinals.

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There has been little surprise from either in regard to where the other has ended up.

"I'm not shocked that he's a manager," Girardi said. "A very bright man, a great catcher, he was a leader. I really enjoyed playing [with him], even though I didn't really play much -- I was hurt most of the year, but it was great being around him. I've always appreciated his work, whether it was as a player or manager."

"I thought he would [manage]," Matheny said. "Always admired how he went about his business as a player and a teammate. He's a sharp guy, and he knows the game very well."

The Cardinals finished third in the National League Central during the one season Matheny and Girardi were together. Girardi appeared in only 16 games while battling injuries during his final season in the Majors, with Matheny assuming the full-time catching duties, appearing in 141 games.

It has been Girardi who has provided guidance for Matheny in the latter's initial seasons leading St. Louis. Girardi began managing in 2006, with the Marlins, and has spent the past seven seasons with the Yankees, winning a World Series title in 2009.

Matheny, meanwhile, in his first two seasons with the Cardinals, has twice made the playoffs and won the NL pennant last season.

"I have a lot of respect for him, as well, and how he goes about his business," Matheny said of Girardi. "I'm grateful for the help he's been to me, also, as I've taken on this position."

Alex Halsted 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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