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Card bullpen adds third lefty

Card bullpen adds third lefty

Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 7:00 pm

By R.B. FALLSTROM
AP Sports Writer
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Ten days after signing lefty Brian Fuentes to a minor league contract, the St. Louis Cardinals plugged him into the major league roster.
The Cardinals purchased the contract of the 36-year-old Fuentes from Double-A Springfield in time for Wednesday night’s game against the Dodgers.
Fuentes is a four-time All-Star with 224 career saves to lead active left-handers. He led the majors with 48 saves in 2009 with the Angels and had six seasons with 20 or more saves.
The Cardinals are set at closer with Jason Motte, whose locker is next to Fuentes’. Manager Mike Matheny said he’d use the side-arming Fuentes as a lefty specialist for now.
“I think he definitely can be an asset,” Matheny said. “He’s funky. It wasn’t too long ago he was throwing really hard with incredible deception.
“He hides the ball and basically steps into the dugout and throws it across the plate.”
The 36-year-old Fuentes said he didn’t care when he pitched. He likes the look of a team that was in third place in the NL Central, six games out of first, but had won four of five.
“I knew there was an opportunity here, a spot open in the bullpen or at least a need for another back-end guy,” Fuentes said. “It just seemed like the right fit.”
The Cardinals had also been in the bidding for Fuentes before the ’09 season.
“It was real close,” Fuentes said. “It was my first time in free agency and there’s a lot to take in, a lot to learn.”
Fuentes was 2-2 with a 6.84 ERA and five saves in eight chances in 26 appearances for Oakland before being released on July 11. The Athletics had signed Fuentes to a two-year, $11 million contract in January as a setup man.
Fuentes blamed control woes on his problems in Oakland. Published in The Messenger 7.26.12

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