Cards agree to deal with veteran reliever Springer

Updated: December 9, 2006, 1:20 AM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Reliever Russ Springer and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a $1.75 million, one-year contract on Friday, a day after the World Series champions returned from the winter meetings without making any deals.

Russ Springer
Springer

Springer appeared in a career-high 72 games in middle relief with the Houston Astros last season, going 1-1 with a 3.47 ERA. He had been with the Cardinals in 2003.

"Russ is someone we are very familiar with and have liked for some time," general manager Walt Jocketty said. "He allows us to be more versatile out of the bullpen and adds another veteran presence to the relief corps."

The Cardinals' bullpen in the postseason included three rookies, right-handers Adam Wainwright and Josh Kinney and left-hander Tyler Johnson. Wainwright, who closed out Game 5 of the World Series against the Tigers, would likely move to the rotation if closer Jason Isringhausen recovers quickly from hip surgery in September.

Chris Carpenter, Anthony Reyes and newly acquired Kip Wells are the only starters on the roster now.

The 38-year-old Springer held opponents to a .211 batting average last season, including .187 for right-handed batters. He did not allow a run in 10 of his last 11 outings.

Springer appeared in 17 games in 2003 with St. Louis, winning the season opener, before being sidelined by an elbow injury.

He has pitched in two World Series, in 1999 with the Braves and in 2005 with the Astros. In 14 career seasons he's 25-39 with a 4.94 ERA.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press