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Cardinals sign catcher Jason LaRue11/19/2007 4:14 PM ET
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have agreed to terms on a one-year contract for 2008 with free-agent catcher Jason LaRue. The team also announced that free-agent pitchers Dewon Brazelton and John Wasdin have both agreed to minor league deals.
LaRue, 33, played for the Kansas City Royals last season after spending his first six-plus seasons in the majors with the Cincinnati Reds (1999-2006). He owns a career .233 batting mark with 88 home runs and 316 RBI in 781 games.
Signed as the primary back-up to Yadier Molina, LaRue features a strong throwing arm, ranking T2nd with Detroit's Ivan Rodriguez for top throwing pct. (37 pct.) among Major League catchers since 2001 (min. 5,000 innings caught), trailing only the Nationals Brian Schneider (38 pct.). LaRue is 12th among the majors catchers in both games started (626) and innings caught (5,533.0) since becoming a regular with the Reds in 2001.
The 5-11, 205-pound Bulverde, TX native had five consecutive seasons (2001-05) with 10 or more homers and 50 or more RBI, including a career-high 16 HR's in 2003 and 60 RBI in 2005. The right-handed hitting LaRue caught five of the Royals six shutouts this past season and finished 7th among the majors' catchers (min. 50 starts) by throwing out 33.3 pct. of attempted base stealers in 2007. He hit .148 with 4 HR's in 66 games with Kansas City.
Brazelton, 27, a former first-round selection (3rd player overall) in the 2001 draft, attended spring camp last season as a non-roster invitee with the Kansas City Royals. He made four starts for Triple-A Omaha (0-4, 7.11 ERA) before being released on April 28. Brazelton signed a minor league contract with Pittsburgh on May 31 and pitched the remainder of the season at Double-A Altoona, posting a 5-5 record and 3.53 ERA in 15 starts. The 6-4, 215-pound right-hander last pitched in the majors in 2006 for San Diego, appearing in nine games (two starts). The majority of his six-year pro career was spent in the Tampa Bay organization, where he was their first-round selection out of Middle Tennessee State. Overall, he is 8-25 with a 6.39 ERA in 63 big-league games (43 starts).
Wasdin, 35, broke spring camp with the Pirates in an injury-plagued 2007 season. He totaled 12 relief outings for the Pirates (1-1, 5.95 ERA) and was shut down for the season in late July due to a right wrist sprain. Wasdin also started seven games for Triple-A Indianapolis, five while rehabbing from a sprained right thumb from June 2-22, and was 1-1 with a 6.37 ERA while walking three and striking out 40 in 35.1 innings. Wasdin was a first-round draft pick (25th overall) of the Oakland A's in 1993. He has appeared in 328 games (65 starts) at the big-league level and owns a 39-39 record with seven saves and a 5.28 ERA. A perfect game ranks among Wasdin's career highlights, as he tossed one on April 7, 2003 while with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. He attended Florida State University and pitched in the 1991 College World Series as a freshman.
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