Cardinals to add Christian for outfield depth

A speedy veteran Triple-A outfielder will be joining the St. Louis Cardinals system for 2013.

The St. Louis Cardinals have reached verbal agreement with outfielder Justin Christian on a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training camp. FOX Sports Midwest reporter B.J. Rains' report was confirmed by Christian's representation, Platinum Sports.

The 32-year-old may be a good addition to what is projected to be a thin Memphis offense in 2013.

Christian began his professional career as a middle infielder with River City of the independent Frontier League in 2003 and 2004 before he was acquired by the New York Yankees. The right-handed hitter remained in their system five years, moving to the outfield in 2006. Christian first reached the majors for 24 games in 2008. He was an International League all-star that season.

Christian was non-tendered by the Yanks, then moving to the Orioles, for whom he again played in the International League in 2009. After a short return to indy league ball, Christian was re-signed by the Yankees in May 2010. After another Triple-A campaign, the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder played for Mexico in the Caribbean Series.

The San Mateo, Cal. resident moved to San Francisco for the 2011-2012 seasons. He had brief returns to the bigs, totaling 54 games with the Giants over the last two seasons, but did not make the post-season roster. He was outrighted in October and became a free agent.

While Christian has a .203 career average in 143 MLB at-bats, he has been successful in Triple-A. At Fresno the last two seasons, he hit .341 with an OPS over .950.

An aggressive base stealer with a career success rate of 86 percent, Christian has three seasons of over 50 stolen bases, including 54 as recently as 2011. His best year was 68 steals in 2006 at Double-A.

As a collegian, Christian finished with Southeast Missouri State after previously playing at Auburn and Skyline Junior College in California.

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