Cardinals void Mateo's contract

Updated: September 22, 2009, 6:10 PM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- The St. Louis Cardinals voided the contract of a 16-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic after he failed a physical.

Wagner Mateo signed a deal with the Cardinals on July 2 that included a $3.1 million signing bonus. But the contract was contingent on Mateo's physical exam and general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday that his physical revealed two injuries that led to the decision to terminate the contract. Mozeliak would not specify what the injuries were, but he said they were related.

"We did our due diligence and we concluded that he had a pre-existing injury and he also is currently dealing with another injury," Mozeliak said. "Having both those issues out there, we realized it was in the best interest of the club to void the contract."

Mateo was considered among the top amateur free agents from Latin America. At the time, Mozeliak called the acquisition of Mateo "a significant step."

Mozeliak acknowledged he was disappointed that Mateo failed the physical, which began in late July and took "close to two months" to complete.

"Just gathering all the information, we felt we were at a point where there was nothing that was going to change the outcome of this," Mozeliak said.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Mateo throws and bats left-handed. He represented the Dominican Republic in Major League Baseball's RBI World Series in 2007 and 2008.

Mozeliak would not rule out contacting Mateo again in the future. But for now, Mozeliak said, "the door is closed."

"Disappointment is a fair word," he said. "Obviously, we were excited to sign one of the top players down there. But we also have to be prudent and make sure he goes through the process."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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