ST. LOUIS — Desiring to add a versatile right-handed hitting veteran player to the 2013 club, the Cardinals found a fit in Ty Wigginton, whom the club signed to a two-year contract on Friday. The club made the signing official after Wigginton traveled to St. Louis to undergo a team physical.
Wigginton, 35, has played all four infield positions and both corner-outfield spots during his 11-year career, which began with the Mets in 2002. Most recently, his playing time has come primarily as a corner infielder/outfielder. He spent the 2012 season in Philadelphia, where he hit .235 with 11 homers and 43 RBIs in 360 plate appearances.
“Whenever I played St. Louis, I’ve always respected the way they played the game and how they went about playing their game,” Wigginton said on Friday, shortly before boarding a flight back to his home in North Carolina. “Obviously, all the winning over the years in St. Louis makes this a special place.”
Wigginton said he weighed offers from about four teams before settling on signing with the Cardinals, who contacted him early in the free-agent process and maintained a dialogue throughout.
The addition of Wigginton will give the Cards’ bench both some experience and a right-handed bat with power potential. Both were areas in which the club was deficient last season, as Shane Robinson and Tony Cruz were the team’s best right-handed hitting options off the bench for the majority of the campaign.
General manager John Mozeliak entered the offseason specific in noting his intentions to upgrade the bench with a right-handed bat.
Wigginton’s career has taken him to New York (2002-04), Pittsburgh (04-05), Tampa Bay (06-07), Houston (07-08), Baltimore (09-10), Colorado (’11) and Philadelphia en route to St. Louis. He has finished with at least 15 home runs in six different seasons and has a career .263 batting average.
As a pinch-hitter, Wigginton went 5-for-33 with three RBIs in 2012. Over his career, he has a .233 batting average in 103 pinch-hit opportunities.
“Early in my career when I pinch-hit, it was usually because I had an off-day,” Wigginton said. “But last year, more than anything, I started to realize it’s kind of a fun, new challenge. I look forward to that challenge and getting better at it.”
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