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Molina earns catching Fielding Bible Award

ST. LOUIS -- Yadier Molina claimed his first defensive honor of the offseason this week when he was named the recipient of another Fielding Bible Award, receiving every possible first-place vote.

The Fielding Bible Awards are voted upon by a select panel of 10 baseball analysts, including Fielding Bible author John Dewan, Bill James and Peter Gammons. Only one player is selected at each position, different from the Rawlings Gold Glove awards, which name both an American and National League winner.

Molina's Fielding Bible Award is expected to be a precursor to another Gold Glove Award for the Cardinals catcher.

Molina, who has won four consecutive Gold Glove awards, had his string of Fielding Bible honors stopped by Orioles catcher Matt Wieters last season. This year, Molina received all 10 first-place votes, making him one of only three players at any position to earn a perfect score.

After throwing out 29 percent of baserunners in 2011, Molina caught 48 percent this year. Molina also finished tops among catchers in the Defensive Runs Saved statistic, which Dewan helped to create in order to measure how many plays a fielder makes above or below an average player at that position. Molina had 16 Defensive Runs Saved in 2012.

Other 2012 Fielding Bible winners include: first baseman Mark Teixeira, second baseman Darwin Barney, third baseman Adrian Beltre, shortstop Brendan Ryan, left fielder Alex Gordon, center fielder Mike Trout, right fielder Jason Heyward, and pitcher Mark Buehrle.

Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook finished second among pitchers in the Fielding Bible Awards voting. No other St. Louis player finished as a runner-up.

Previous Cardinals Fielding Bible winners include: Albert Pujols (2011, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006) and Molina (2010, 2009, 2008, 2007).

Yadier Molina