First of all, I'd like to congratulate "The Man" Stan Musial, on receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is a person that I have come to know and deeply admire and respect.
After spending the last few weeks working toward an extension, we've suspended our conversations with the Cardinals, due to this morning's self-imposed deadline. Once the 2011 season is over, we hope to revisit those talks. My agent, Dan Lozano and I have been on the same page throughout this entire process, and we strongly feel this is the best course of action. I have made it very clear that I do not want any of this to be a distraction during the season, and it was for that reason, that we came up with a deadline. I hope that the media are respectful toward my family, my teammates, coaches and the Cardinals Organization in honoring this request. I have the utmost respect for Mr. DeWitt, Mo and the rest of the Cardinals Organization, and the path that these negotiations have taken, will not impact our relationship moving forward in any way.
I also would like to take this opportunity to reassure the Cardinal Nation, that my effort both on and off the field will never change. I am devoted to giving 100 percent on the field, every single day, just as I have done the last 10 years. We're all working together toward a common goal and that is to win a World Championship for the City of St. Louis. The last thing anyone in this clubhouse needs to worry about, is what's going to happen to me after the season. Let's focus on winning in 2011 and prepare each day to accomplish our goals as a team. I'm feeling strong, healthy and excited to be at Spring Training in what I hope to be the start of a World Championship season. I can't wait to get started and God bless.