Catcher Knoedler Signs Minors Deal with Cards

Veteran catcher Justin Knoedler has agreed to terms with the St. Louis Cardinals on a one-year minor league contract that includes an invitation to the Cardinals major league spring training camp.

The 28-year-old Knoedler was a minor league free agent after spending 2008 in the Oakland Athletics organization. With their Triple-A Sacramento club, the right-handed hitter posted a punchless line of .175/.238/.378 in 217 at-bats.

After concluding his collegiate career with Miami of Ohio, Knoedler was taken as a pitcher by the San Francisco Giants in the fifth round of the 2001 draft. After one professional season on the mound, Knoedler converted to catcher for the 2002 season. He remained with the Giants for his first seven seasons as a professional before moving on to the A's. His career minor league line is .257/.325/.408 in 2163 at-bats.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder made his MLB debut in October, 2004 and accumulated a total of 18 major league at-bats with the 2004, 2005 and 2006 Giants. Knoedler went 2-for-18 (.111) as a big leaguer.

In a way, this signing is a homecoming, as Knoedler was originally drafted out of high school by the Cardinals in the 41st round of the 1998 draft. He did not sign, however.

Knoedler told the Springfield (IL) State Journal-Register that he had been recruited by the Cardinals last year at this time and recently, interest had been shown by the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds in addition to the Cardinals.

The Springfield, IL native was placed by the Cardinals onto their Triple-A roster for purposes of next month's Rule 5 Draft, where he is eligible to be taken. Knoedler seems likely slated to play a reserve role in Memphis behind top prospect Bryan Anderson in 2009.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

© 2008 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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