Former St. Louis Cardinals reliever Kiko Calero is being given a tryout with the club, reports SI.com’s Jon Heyman via Twitter.
Perhaps the timing is coincidental as it relates to the loss of Adam Wainwright due to injury. Yet with the likelihood of a reliever stepping into the rotation, such as Kyle McClellan, the team may be looking to bolster its veteran relief corps.
Originally drafted by Kansas City in 1996, Calero joined St. Louis as a free agent in December 2002. He made his MLB debut with the 2003 Cardinals, earning a spot on the club out of spring camp as a non-roster invitee, but went down for the remainder of the season with a June knee injury.
|Calero in 2004|
Calero has been well-traveled since leaving St. Louis. The 36-year-old first moved to Oakland along with Dan Haren and Daric Barton in the Mark Mulder trade in 2004. The Puerto Rican native pitched for manager Jose Oquendo (and Cardinals third base coach) in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, but was limited to 46 games in 2007 due to shoulder problems. The A’s released Calero in June 2008.
The right-hander then signed a minor league deal with Texas, pitching in Triple-A for the remainder of 2008. He joined Florida in 2009, again earning a roster spot as an NRI. He stuck in the bigs for the entire season except for time on the disabled list, again due to a shoulder injury. With the Fish, Calero posted a stellar 1.95 ERA before becoming a free agent after the season.
Despite the success, concerns about his shoulder apparently limited his options heading into 2010. The Giants, Cubs and Pirates were all rumored to have been interested, but he did not sign until March 4, when he joined the Mets.
Last season was not kind to Calero. He did not appear in the majors for the first time since 2003, and was released by both the Mets and Dodgers after a total of 25 appearances in the International and Pacific Coast Leagues.
Calero’s Mets deal was for $850,000 with $650,000 additional in incentives. He had joined their 2010 spring training camp as the favorite for the team’s set-up role. Instead he didn’t make the big league club and once the season began, he was hammered in Triple-A Buffalo, with a 10.59 ERA in 10 appearances.
After moving to the Dodgers and Triple-A Albuquerque after his release by New York, Calero pitched better, with a 3.00 ERA. Yet Los Angeles still released him after just five weeks. Between the two stops, Calero issued 16 free passes in 32 innings.
Calero was out of baseball from mid-July until winter ball. He pitched for Caguas in Puerto Rico who won the League Championship and represented the Commonwealth in the Caribbean Series. Calero allowed just three earned runs in a total of 15 2/3 winter innings, fanning 13 but walking seven.
As a major leaguer, Calero has a 3.24 ERA in 302 2/3 innings over 312 games. He struck out 324 and walked 126.
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