Cards reach deal with relief pitcher Rincon

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals took a step toward rebuilding their bullpen, reaching a preliminary agreement on a $2.9 million, two-year contract with free agent pitcher Ricardo Rincon.

The contract is contingent on the 35-year-old left-hander passing a physical. Rincon's agent, Dave Stewart, said his client chose the Cardinals over the New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics.

Rincon played for the Athletics the last three seasons, going 1-1 with a 4.34 ERA in 67 games in 2005. He has a career 3.53 ERA and fills a vacancy for a left-handed reliever after disgruntled Ray King got his wish for a trade and was dealt to the Rockies.

Stewart said Rincon didn't want to stay in Oakland because he had become a situational left-hander there and wanted the opportunity to pitch to right-handed hitters as well.

"He'll get a chance to face both lefties and righties," Stewart said. "Obviously he's got some stuff to prove, but he'll get that opportunity there."

The Cardinals have two other left-handers competing for bullpen jobs, Randy Flores and rookie Tyler Johnson, but still have a handful of vacancies.

-- AP

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