Ex-MVP Juan Gonzalez gets non-roster training camp invite from 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.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press