Baseball

Catcher will get World Series ring, win or lose

Bengie Molina gets a ring regardless of who wins this World Series.

“I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s going to be a very happy, weird feeling,” said Molina, the catcher who was traded from San Francisco to Texas this season. “Just weird because I played there for 31/2 years, and to wear another color in that stadium.”

Molina has been with the Rangers for 31/2 months, shipped off by the Giants on July 1 to make room for top prospect Buster Posey behind the plate.

Instead of catching Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Brian Wilson and the other Giants pitchers he knows so well, Molina faces a more difficult task — trying to hit against them and beat them in Texas’ first World Series.

It makes for a strange scenario: Both of Molina’s teams are in the spotlight.

“It’s going to be a very happy World Series for Bengie Molina. I’m going to try to enjoy it as much as I can,” he said.

Game 1 is Wednesday in San Francisco with a matchup of the 2008 Cy Young Award winners, Lincecum vs. Rangers ace Cliff Lee.

This isn’t the first time Molina has faced the Giants in a World Series. But his 2002 championship with the Los Angeles Angels came before he played in San Francisco.

The Rangers acquired Molina to help settle their catching situation, and he shares time with Matt Treanor. Molina played 57 regular-season games with Texas and 61 for the Giants.

San Francisco traded Molina soon after promoting Posey, the No. 5 overall pick in 2008 who became the club’s cleanup hitter and a leading contender for National League Rookie of the Year.

Texas began the season with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden behind the plate. Both young catchers were optioned to the minors less than a month into the season and Saltalamacchia – who has the longest last name in major league history – has since been traded.

Texas was already leading the American League West when Molina got there.

San Francisco was in fourth place in the National League West, 51/2 games behind San Diego, when he left.

Now the two teams meet in a situation Molina never really imagined.

“I think I knew (the Rangers) had a great chance to make it to the playoffs,” he said. “For both teams to be in the World Series? Not a chance.”

SHORT HOPS

Former University of Washington star Lincecum will start Game 1 for the Giants, with Cain starting the second game, manager Bruce Bochy said. Former Mariners ace Cliff Lee will start Wednesday’s opener for Texas, followed by C.J. Wilson. The Blue Jays hired Boston pitching coach John Farrell, 48, as manager. The Yankees fired pitching coach Dave Eiland. The Cardinals said pitching coach Dave Duncan and hitting coach Mark McGwire will return next season. Texas outfielder Vladimir Guerrero and Atlanta pitcher Tim Hudson were named comeback players of the year.

WORLD SERIES

Game 1: Wednesday at San Francisco, 4:57 p.m.

Game 2: Thursday at San Francisco, 4:57 p.m.

Game 3: Saturday at Texas, 3:57 p.m.

Game 4: Sunday at Texas, 5:20 p.m.

Game 5: Monday at Texas, 4:57 p.m.*

Game 6: Nov. 3 at San Francisco, 4:57 p.m. *

Game 7: Nov. 4 at San Francisco, 4:57 p.m. *

* – if necessary

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