The St. Louis Cardinals announced Friday that they have agreed to terms with veteran pitcher Scott Linebrink on a minor league contract for the upcoming 2012 season. The deal includes a non-roster invitation (NRI) to the Cardinals Major League Spring Training camp.
Linebrink, 35, appeared in 64 games for the Atlanta Braves last season, seeing his most work since the 2007 season. The 6-3, 220-pound right-hander finished the 2011 season with a 4-4 won-loss mark and a 3.64 ERA, striking out 42 batters in his 54.1 innings pitched.
Linebrink had an excellent two-month stretch in June and July, going a combined 3-1 with a 1.61 ERA (22.1 IP/4 ER) during that time period before a lower back strain forced him to the disabled list from August 1-14. He posted solid season totals when pitching with runners on base, limiting the opposition to a .235 BA, including a .182 mark with runners in scoring position and two outs. He stranded 23 of 33 inherited runners, the 2nd best mark amongst Braves relievers in 2011.
Linebrink is a veteran of 10-plus seasons in the majors, debuting with the San Francisco Giants in 2000. His career has also included stints with Houston (2000-03), San Diego (2003-07), Milwaukee (2007), Chicago White Sox (2008-10) and Atlanta (2011). He brings a lifetime mark of 42-31, 3.51 ERA and 8 saves in 607 games into the 2012 campaign.
The Austin, Texas native currently stands fourth in career ERA (3.51) among active Major League pitchers who have made 600 or more career appearances, trailing only Mariano Rivera (2.21), Francisco Cordero (3.17) and Brian Fuentes (3.44).
Note: To view the entire St. Louis Cardinals organization by position and level, refer to the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation Blog. There, you can see all players invited to major league spring training as well as early minor league camp. Linebrink is the club’s 21st NRI and 60th player invited to major league camp.