As many St. Louis Cardinals fans know, Yadier Molina skipped the team’s Winter Warm-Up fan festival last weekend. After a discussion between club general manager John Mozeliak and the catcher’s agent, Molina will be making a contribution to the Cardinals Care charity in lieu of his attendance. The GM explained his catcher does not like the crowds and autograph signings.
This weekend, Molina is out and about, joining current teammate Rafael Furcal and good friend and ex-teammate Albert Pujols in the Dominican Republic. Molina lives in Puerto Rico, while Furcal and Pujols are native Dominicans.
The three Major Leaguers are scheduled to play in a softball game on Saturday in Loma de Cabrera, near the frontier of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, reports ESPN Deportes’ Enrique Rojas.
Pujols left the Cardinals last month, making a 20-year commitment to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Likely re-deploying some of the cash earmarked for the first baseman, St. Louis quickly signed shortstop Furcal to a two-year extension. Molina is on schedule to become a free agent himself following the 2012 season.
The Pujols Family Foundation explains more about why Pujols is in the area in a Saturday post on their Facebook page. The other players are not mentioned as being a part of the relief mission.
“Albert and Deidre Pujols are currently on the ground in the Dominican Republic providing beds for families who have no place to sleep. ‘Project Sound Asleep III’ rolls out today, delivering beds to over 70 families over the course of three days…”
“They are concentrating this trip on the Bateys around Consuelo, San Pedro de Macoris.”
A member of the Pujols traveling party, Ramon D. Carmona, has been posting photos of the players’ travels.
(My interpretation of Carmona’s captions: Pujols, Furcal, Fernando Villalona and Molina; The group posing by a river; Furcal driving with Pujols as passenger and Molina in the back; Furcal at the wheel; Pujols and Molina playing dominoes.)