Visiting Busch Stadium for the first time since he left the St. Louis Cardinals to sign with the Chicago Cubs, Jason Heyward was careful to clarify some of his December comments, which he thinks were misconstrued.
Heyward said at his introductory news conference he would "rather grow up with a bunch of guys and make them family and be able to cherish that without feeling like I had to restart."
Mike Matheny was among those that took exception to what as perceived as a shot at the Cardinals' aging core.
Heyward said Monday that he wasn't talking about the players' ages -- he was talking about their contracts.
If the Cardinals decline Matt Holliday's $17 million option for next season, he could be a free agent in November. Adam Wainwright is signed through 2018. Yadier Molina is signed through 2017 with an option for 2018.
"In Atlanta my first three years, I felt like we had a special group, some guys who did some special things in this game and are still doing special things in this game. Some guys have moved on," Heyward said. "It was kind of a heart-breaking experience for me that the business broke us up that quickly. Dealing with the process of figuring out where I'm going to go, free agent-wise, I just felt like Chicago's going to give me a great opportunity to be with these guys for the majority of my contract."
Many Cardinals fans were hurt or angry that Heyward chose the Cubs, and many elected to boo the outfielder at the game Monday.