The Redbird Report: 01/05

With the signing of right-hander Matt Clement for 2008, plus a club option for 2009, the Cardinals have two starters coming off shoulder surgery.

Clement missed all of the 2007 season after having labrum and rotator cuff surgery while with Boston in 2006, and left-hander Mark Mulder is trying to bounce back after a second shoulder surgery.

Clement, who was seen by several clubs while working in the Florida Instructional League, is expected to be ready for Opening Day. Mulder, who pitched briefly and ineffectively for the Cardinals in 2007, is slated to return in late April or early May.

As it stands, the Cardinals rotation consists of right-handers Adam Wainwright, Braden Looper, Joel Pineiro and Clement, plus Mulder.

If all are healthy, the club would be more likely to move right-handers Anthony Reyes and Brad Thompson.

Since Clement hasn't pitched in a year and a half and because he has had shoulder surgery, the Cardinals have gambled a bit on the signing.

"Obviously, there is a risk because of the surgery he required," general manager John Mozeliak said, "but we felt it was worth the risk."


--The Cardinals brought back INF Aaron Miles, who was not tendered a contract last month, when he agreed to a one-year, $1.4 million contract. Miles was a valuable fill-in offensively last year, although he is better defensively at second base than he is at other infield spots.

--New SS Cesar Izturis, signed to a one-year deal as a free agent, was hitting .333 in the Venezuelan winter league. 2B D'Angelo Jimenez, signed to a minor league contract, was batting .220 for Licey in the Dominican Republic winter league.

--RHP Mark Worrell, probably a year away from the Cardinals' bullpen, had a 4.76 ERA in his first six outings in the Dominican winter league.

--Having signed RHP Matt Clement, the Cardinals probably are through reworking their roster on a major scale unless they could make a deal for a right-handed bat. RF Juan Encarnacion, the type of player they might be seeking, isn't expected to be able to play this year after being hit in the eye by a foul ball late last season.

--The Cardinals have very few arbitration candidates, with the top two being OF Rick Ankiel and C Yadier Molina. Ankiel has some four years of service time despite being a big-league position player for only two months.

BY THE NUMBERS: 14 -- RHP Matt Clement's career high for victories, set in 2003 with the Chicago Cubs.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "The whole deal seemed to make a lot of sense for us. We're very excited. This is a guy who can do more than eat innings." -- GM John Mozeliak, on RHP Matt Clement.


ARRIVALS: C Jason LaRue (free agent from Royals), SS Cesar Izturis (free agent from Pirates), INF D'Angelo Jimenez (minor league free agent from Nationals), RHP Matt Clement (free agent from Red Sox).

DEPARTURES: OF So Taguchi (free agent, signed with Phillies), RHP Troy Percival (free agent, signed with Rays), SS David Eckstein (free agent, signed with Blue Jays), CF Jim Edmonds (traded to Padres), C Gary Bennett (free agent, signed with Dodgers), RHP Kip Wells (free agent, signed with Rockies).

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