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INF Cedeno, Cardinals agree to $1.15M deal

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Infielder Ronny Cedeno has agreed to a $1.15 million, one-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, giving them insurance in case shortstop Rafael Furcal has problems returning from an elbow injury that sidelined him late last season.

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Cedeno can earn an additional $850,000 in performance bonuses under Monday's deal: $170,000 each for 200, 250, 300, 250 and 400 plate appearances.

The 29-year-old Cedeno batted .259 with four homers and 22 RBIs last year for the New York Mets. An eight-year big league veteran, he has a .247 career average for the Chicago Cubs, Seattle, Pittsburgh and the Mets and was the Pirates' starting shortstop in 2010 and 2011.

At the team's fan festival last week, both general manager John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny said they thought the team would enter spring training with no serious health issues. Rookie Pete Kozma started at shortstop the final month of the season and in the postseason.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Cardinals designated left-handed pitcher Barret Browning for assignment.

St. Louis also agreed to minor league contracts with catchers Rob Johnson and J.R. Towles and outfielder Justin Christian, and hired former catcher Bengie Molina as assistant hitting coach. He is the older brother of Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.

The Cardinals invited 16 non-roster players to training camp, including outfielder Oscar Taveras and right-hander Seth Maness, their minor league player and pitcher of the year. Pitchers and catchers report to Jupiter, Fla., on Feb. 11, with the first full-squad workout Feb. 15.

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