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'Respect the ranks': Yadi responds to Contreras

Cardinals' veteran catcher posts photo of All-Star trio from 2016
MLB.com @LangoschMLB

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina appears to be taking exception to recent comments from Cubs catcher Willson Contreras about how he plans to be a better backstop than perennial All-Stars Molina and Buster Posey.

"In my mind, I want to be the best catcher in the game for a long time -- like it was with Yadier Molina, like it is with Buster Posey," Contreras told the Chicago Sun-Times at the Cubs Convention over the weekend. "I used to watch a lot of those guys, but now I'm watching myself because I know that I'm going to be better than them. That's my plan. That's my [mindset]."

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina appears to be taking exception to recent comments from Cubs catcher Willson Contreras about how he plans to be a better backstop than perennial All-Stars Molina and Buster Posey.

"In my mind, I want to be the best catcher in the game for a long time -- like it was with Yadier Molina, like it is with Buster Posey," Contreras told the Chicago Sun-Times at the Cubs Convention over the weekend. "I used to watch a lot of those guys, but now I'm watching myself because I know that I'm going to be better than them. That's my plan. That's my [mindset]."

That sentiment made it back to Molina, who reacted on Instagram by posting a photo of himself alongside Posey and Salvador Perez from the 2016 All-Star Game. Below it, he wrote: "Respeten los rangos NOVATOS!! aqui con los q si han probao que son los duros!!"

That loosely translates to "respect the ranks" of those who have already proven themselves.

A few hours later, Contreras sent out a series of three tweets in which to clarify what he believed to be a misinterpretation of his original comments.

"Many people have misinterpreted what was said during a recent interview," Contreras said. "I see no wrong in taking the best players as personal goals and exceedance [sic]. What player doesn't want to be the best at their position? I know I am lacking in many years of experience and only time will tell.

"In my mind I aim to be the best and like I mentioned during the interview, I have enormous respect for these players," he said. "I honor and learn so much very [sic] time I play against Molina and Posey. I simply used them as examples of achievement in my professional career.

"To use the best players as a model or standard and want to exceed them, I don't believe is any disrespect simply motivation and inspiration. Have a great night. God bless you all."

Tweet from @WContreras40: Many people have misinterpreted what was said during a recent interview, I see no wrong in taking the best players as personal goals and exceedance. What player doesn���t want to be the best at their position? I know I am lacking many years of experience and only time will tell.

This is not the first time that Molina has used Instagram to express his displeasure. Last summer, he took to the social media site to correct manager Mike Matheny's assertion that Molina was tired.

Video: Molina plans to retire after three-year deal is up

Contreras, who made his Major League debut in 2016, should have at least three more years to go head-to-head in the National League Central against Molina -- who plans to retire after the 2020 season. Contreras has yet to make an All-Star roster, while Molina has been on eight in his 14-year career.

The Cubs and Cardinals will meet for the first time this season on April 16 at Wrigley Field.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, Yadier Molina