The 22-year-old Venezuelan was first signed by the Florida Marlins in June, 2004 at the age of 18. In 2004 through 2006, the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder performed in the Venezuelan Summer League.
The native of Caracas last pitched in affiliated ball in the Marlins system during 2007, first in the Gulf Coast League, where he dominated (2.21 ERA), and then with Jamestown in the New York-Penn League, where he struggled (6.88 ERA). Between the two clubs, he appeared in 14 games, ten as a starter. Linares fanned 57 and walked 22 in 57 2/3 innings.
Overall, across three levels in four minor league seasons, Linares has a 7-13 career record with a 4.35 ERA, with 146 strikeouts and 60 walks in 165 innings pitched.
Following 2008 spring training, the Marlins released Linares on April 1 and he did not participate in affiliated ball during the 2008 regular season.
The lefty did compete in the Venezuelan Winter League for the last-place Margarita Braves this past winter as a teammate of Cards minor league reliever Luke Gregerson. Cardinals Minor League Hitting Coordinator Dan Radison also had a good look at Linares while serving as the Braves' hitting coach and recommended him to the organization.
In the 2008-2009 VWL, Linares pitched in ten games, fanning 16 in 16 innings, but also yielded ten walks, three home runs and an opposing batting average of .308. He is expected to compete for a job with Palm Beach or perhaps Springfield.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Catch his Cardinals commentary daily at his blog, The Cardinal Nation.
© 2009 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.