Cards Add Two Indy Leaguers

Rich Giannotti and Chris Torres have been signed as free agents by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Outfielder Rich Giannotti and catcher Chris Torres have been signed as free agents by the St. Louis Cardinals and initially assigned to Extended Spring Training camp in Jupiter, Florida.

After two seasons in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim system, Giannotti was released this spring. He was slated to play for the Nashua Pride of the Canadian American League before being signed by the Cardinals on May 5.

The 6'-3", 185 pound outfielder hails from Plantation, Florida, where he led his St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders squad to a 2001 state runner-up finish. The 22-year-old switch-hitter was originally selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 20th round of the 2001 amateur draft. Instead, Giannotti joined the University of Miami, where he starred for four seasons.

Subsequently, Giannotti was taken in the 38th round in the 2004 draft by the Angels, with whom he signed. In his initial professional season, he batted .248 with three home runs, 22 RBI and 21 stolen bases for the Provo, Utah Rookie League team in the Pioneer League. The following year, he hit .235 with three home runs, 28 RBI and 17 steals as a member of the Single-A Cedar Rapids Kernels of the Midwest League.

Catcher Chris Torres had been released by the Detroit Tigers this spring, and agreed to play for the Newark Bears of the Atlantic League in 2006 before joining the Cardinals organization on April 25.

After playing high school ball in Vero Beach, Florida, Torres was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates but did not come to terms. He joined Indian River Community College in Florida before moving on to Cumberland University of Tennessee, where he batted .336 with 12 home runs and 61 RBIs in 66 games his senior year.

Torres was then drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 32nd round of the 2005 draft and after signing was assigned to the Oneonta Tigers of the New York-Penn League. With Oneonta, he hit .270, but due to injury was limited to only 23 games played.

Perhaps the Cardinals remembered Torres because on July 17, he had his best game to-date as a professional against the New Jersey Cardinals. Torres went 4-for-5 including a home run, drove in two and scored three runs.

Torres comes from a baseball family. His brother Jason, also a catcher, played for the Newark Bears from 2002 to 2004. His father Victor, also a former professional player, is currently the Bears' hitting coach.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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