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Ex-MVP Juan Gonzalez gets non-roster training camp invite from Cardinals

ST. LOUIS -- Juan Gonzalez is trying a comeback with the St. Louis Cardinals.


After sitting out the past two seasons, the two-time AL MVP will
be one of 26 non-roster players invited to St. Louis' spring
training camp this month.


The 38-year-old Gonzalez last played regularly in 2003 when he
had 24 home runs and 70 RBIs in 324 at-bats for the Texas Rangers.
He had one at-bat with Cleveland in 2005 before injuring his
hamstring.


Gonzalez has 434 career homers and five 40-homer seasons, the
last in 1998.


Cardinals star Albert Pujols has been working out with Gonzalez,
and pushed for the team to give him a shot.


The Cardinals also invited their minor league player of the
year, outfielder Colby Rasmus, as a non-roster player. Rasmus has a
chance to make the team, given the trade of Jim Edmonds and
uncertain status of Juan Encarnacion, who struck in the eye by a foul
ball last September.


Minor league third baseman David Freese of St. Louis, acquired
in the Edmonds trade from the Padres, also is a non-roster invitee.
In all, 66 players are due to report.


Pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 14 and begin workouts on
Feb. 15, with the first full-squad workout on Feb. 19. The Cardinals are beginning their 11th spring training in Jupiter, Fla.