Tragedy mars Cardinals' season of highs

Wong embraces October spotlight; Taveras' death stuns baseball world

Tragedy mars Cardinals' season of highs

ST. LOUIS -- There was no shortage of standout moments for the Cardinals in 2014, another season that featured a deep postseason run after the club held off the Pirates (again) for a second consecutive National League Central title.

It was a year of great triumph and jarring tragedy, the two striking not that far apart. And that was just in October, following a six-month grind in which the Cardinals often felt starved for offense and fortunate that their pitching talent was enough to sustain other deficiencies. There were unexpected emergences (Pat Neshek), unanticipated declines (Allen Craig) and even some redemption found (Jhonny Peralta).

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bourjos talks hip surgery and holiday tradition

In Q&A with MLB.com, the Cards center fielder discusses his busy offseason

Bourjos talks hip surgery and holiday tradition

ST. LOUIS -- Last offseason, Peter Bourjos found himself a key piece of a four-player trade that ended his tenure with the Angels. Life has been just as hectic for the center fielder this winter, as he had a November wedding squeezed between October hip surgery and the Cardinals' December commitment to tender him a contract.

Bourjos recently took time out of his rehab work to update MLB.com on his progress and talk about how he'll be spending the holidays:

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ageless Ozzie Smith turns 60

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Ageless Ozzie Smith turns 60

Technically, Ozzie Smith turns 60 years old Friday. But we're fairly confident that the All-Star shortstop and Hall of Famer is actually ageless and will live on long past the point when the Earth is consumed in the fiery reaches of our expanding sun.

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Cardinals sign Walden to two-year contract

Reliever, acquired in trade with Atlanta, avoids salary arbitration

Cardinals sign Walden to two-year contract

The St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to terms with reliever Jordan Walden, avoiding arbitration.

The right-hander, acquired in the Jason Heyward trade Nov. 17, agreed to a two-year contract that also includes a team option for the 2017 season.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Martinez preps for starter audition in winter ball

Cardinals right-hander getting work in Dominican Republic

Martinez preps for starter audition in winter ball

ST. LOUIS -- Earlier this offseason, the Cardinals and Carlos Martinez found some middle ground between his desire to play winter ball in his home country of the Dominican Republic and the organization's need for their young right-hander to get sufficient rest in advance of a season that could see him find a permanent place in the rotation.

The two sides settled on a cap of 25 innings, which would cover between four and six Dominican Winter League starts, general manager John Mozeliak said. As of Monday, Martinez had made three, totaling 12 1/3 innings, leaving him a few available innings still to accrue as his DWL club, the Aquilas Cibaenas, now moves into a four-team round robin that will determine which two clubs play for the national title.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Selig to be honored at St. Louis Writers' Dinner

Selig to be honored at St. Louis Writers' Dinner

ST. LOUIS -- Major League Baseball's outgoing Commissioner, Bud Selig, will be recognized at the St. Louis Baseball Writers' Dinner next month as the recipient of the chapter's new and most prestigious honor, the Red Award. The award, named in honor of Red Schoendienst, who will begin his 70th consecutive season in a Cardinals uniform in 2015, was created to recognize someone for invaluable service to baseball.

Selig's acceptance of the award will cap an evening in which numerous members of the Cardinals' 1985 and 2014 clubs also will be honored. More than a dozen players from that '85 team have already confirmed plans to attend the event as part of a 30th anniversary celebration of that National League pennant-winning club.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Does Molina have future at first base?

Beat reporter Jenifer Langosch answers questions from Cardinals fans

Inbox: Does Molina have future at first base?

ST. LOUIS -- Before answering a fresh batch of reader questions, remember that to have your submission considered for future inclusion, you must provide your first name, last initial and hometown along with it.

Are the Cardinals still looking to add a veteran backup catcher, and what does the future hold for Yadier Molina at catcher and/or first base?
-- Bill I., Taylorville, Ill.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gonzales, Sierra earn Minor League awards

Gonzales, Sierra earn Minor League awards

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals announced on Thursday that they selected left-hander Marco Gonzales and outfielder Magneuris Sierra as the 2014 recipients of the Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year Awards that the organization has presented annually since 1995.

Gonzales finished the year on the Cardinals' postseason roster after beginning his first full professional season as a member of the Class A Advanced Palm Beach club. In 21 starts with three Minor League teams, Gonzales combined to go 9-5 with a 2.43 ERA and 117 strikeouts over 122 innings. He made his Major League debut on June 25, just a year after being taken by the Cardinals with the No. 19 overall pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Matheny to wear No. 26 as tribute to late friend

Rosenthal switches to No. 44 after Martinez takes No. 18 to honor Taveras

Matheny to wear No. 26 as tribute to late friend

ST. LOUIS -- The offseason number shuffle continues for the Cardinals, with manager Mike Matheny announcing on Wednesday that he will now wear No. 26 as a gesture to honor a late friend. In taking that number, closer Trevor Rosenthal had to choose another. Rosenthal, the club confirmed, will don No. 44.

The number swapping started in November, when Matheny chose to offer his longtime number (22) to new outfielder Jason Heyward. Heyward, acquired in a four-player deal with the Braves, has worn No. 22 his entire Major League career. He selected it as a way to remember former high school teammate, Andy Wilmot, who was killed in an automobile accident shortly after graduation.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards won't retain any free agents

Ellis, Pierzynski don't appear to fit in '15 plans

Cards won't retain any free agents

ST. LOUIS -- While the Cardinals were never all that pursuant of their own free agents, the activity of the last week has all but ensured that none of the seven players to enter free agency after finishing the season in St. Louis will return. Only two -- Mark Ellis and A.J. Pierzynski -- remain unsigned, and neither has an obvious fit on the Cardinals' 2015 roster.

Of the other five who have already moved elsewhere, they received a combined $30.1 million in guaranteed salary with the possibility that incentives push that final figure even higher. These were investments that did not match the Cardinals' future needs.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Marmol finds calling bringing game to foreign land

Minor League manager dedicated to aiding, instructing kids in underdeveloped countries

Marmol finds calling bringing game to foreign land

The biggest game of Oliver Marmol's season came not in front of the 3,000 folks packed into Tri-City's Joseph L. Bruno Stadium for the short-season Class A New York-Penn League title game in early September, but rather on an unkempt lot in the high-poverty Nicaraguan town of Cristo Rey just a little more than two months later. Gone were the bright lights and the pursuit of a trophy, all that glitz exchanged for the acrid odor of surrounding sewage and a gesture that signified hope.

This wasn't about a championship. It was about championing a cause.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Streaking Valera highlights week in winter ball

Cards' No. 19 prospect on eight-game hitting streak, scored three runs Sunday in Venezuela

Streaking Valera highlights week in winter ball

As Major League Baseball's annual Winter Meetings stoked the Hot Stove last week, winter ball action continued throughout Latin America. As usual, several top prospects took center stage.

Below is a look at how some of the top prospects in Winter Leagues play are faring.

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Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Roster set, Cards use Meetings to lay foundation for future

St. Louis adds corner infielder Reynolds, will keep eye on starting-pitching market

Roster set, Cards use Meetings to lay foundation for future

SAN DIEGO -- It wasn't all that long ago that the Cardinals found themselves under the brightest of Winter Meetings spotlights while they attempted to re-sign a franchise first baseman. The club has yet to come close to generating that sort of Winter Meetings interest since.

Over their last three years, the Cardinals have operated mostly invisibly, coming into the Winter Meetings with a roster already largely built and focused merely on laying the groundwork for future activity. This year's stay was another such week, where the Cardinals left the Winter Meetings without an official transaction, something that couldn't be said of most clubs after their four-day stays in San Diego.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals sign slugging first baseman Reynolds

Right-handed-hitting vet also experienced at third

Cardinals sign slugging first baseman Reynolds

ST. LOUIS -- After a week of meeting with agents of available players who could fill the Cardinals' need to add a right-handed-hitting first baseman, the club has found a fit in Mark Reynolds. The deal, made official Thursday evening, will cover just the 2015 season.

Reynolds, 31, has been one of the Cardinals' targets since the start of the offseason, as his power potential is intriguing to a club that finished the season last in home runs in the National League. Reynolds also brings the versatility to play both corner infield positions, giving the Cardinals protection and flexibility in how they can utilize other pieces in their infield.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards select Minor League righty Waldron in Rule 5 Draft

The final day of the Winter Meetings began with the annual Rule 5 Draft. Teams were only able to make a selection if it had space on its 40-man roster.

ROUND 1
1. Arizona Diamondbacks: C Oscar Hernandez, Rays
2. Colorado Rockies: IF Mark Canha, Marlins
3. Texas Rangers: OF Delino DeShields Jr., Astros
4. Houston Astros: RHP Jason Garcia, Red Sox
5. Minnesota Twins: RHP J.R. Graham, Braves
6. Boston Red Sox: RHP Jandel Gustave, Astros
7. Chicago Cubs: SS Taylor Featherston, Rockies
8. Philadelphia Phillies: IF David Herrera, Rangers
9. Miami Marlins: LHP Andrew McKirahan, Cubs
10. New York Mets: LHP Sean Gilmartin, Twins
11. Atlanta Braves: RHP Daniel Winkler, Rockies
12. Seattle Mariners: LHP David Rollins, Astros
13. Baltimore Orioles: RHP Logan Verrett, Mets

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Cards are unbowed by division foes' busy Winter Meetings

Cards are unbowed by division foes' busy Winter Meetings

SAN DIEGO -- While the Cardinals' brass appears ready to return to St. Louis with a roster unchanged during their Winter Meetings stay, the club can't say the same of its road to a third straight National League Central title.

The Cardinals' quiet week has contrasted the splashy San Diego stay of its division competitors, in particular the Cubs, who lured free-agent starter Jon Lester to Chicago with a six-year, $155 million deal. Along with the recent addition of manager Joe Maddon, the signing of Jason Hammel and a trade for catcher Miguel Montero, it marks another bold move that indicates the Cubs' stay as the division bottom dweller is over.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB.| This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

NL Central looking like 5-team race

NL Central looking like 5-team race

SAN DIEGO -- With the Cubs' signing of Jon Lester, the 2015 version of the National League Central can safely be projected as a five-team race.

The Cardinals' track record and pedigree suggest that they should still be the favorites. But every other team can offer a valid argument on behalf of its own chances.

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Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals shuffle Minor League coaching staffs

SAN DIEGO -- Five of the Cardinals' eight affiliates will feature a new manager in 2015, the organization revealed while announcing its Minor League coaching staff assignments on Wednesday. The faces, however, won't be as unfamiliar as the settings.

Four of the changes include individuals with previous managerial experience at lower levels within the Cardinals system who became involved in a shuffle prompted by Ron "Pop" Warner's exit as Triple-A manager. After 10 years of managing in the Cardinals' farm system, Warner moves into a roving infield coordinator role.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Matheny not concerned with lefty-heavy lineup

Matheny not concerned with lefty-heavy lineup

SAN DIEGO -- In a 30-minute session that jumped topics and discussion points with Cardinals manager Mike Matheny on Tuesday, one theme weaved throughout: It was all about the lefties.

From conversations about the team's left-handed-heavy lineup to the need for key position players to improve against left-handed pitching to the dissection of the club's left-handed relief options, the 'L' word became a popular one.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB.| This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mozeliak meets with Lynn's agent at Winter Meetings

Mozeliak meets with Lynn's agent at Winter Meetings

ST. LOUIS -- Though the Cardinals continue to enjoy an under-the-radar Winter Meetings visit to San Diego, it may end up that the most significant aspect of their stay will be the groundwork laid not for a future acquisition but for ensuring a future stay.

Among the agents to visit with general manager John Mozeliak on Tuesday was a member of the Excel Sports Management team, which represents Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn. While Mozeliak would not discuss what topics or player names were discussed during the meeting, Mozeliak noted that it's "fair to say" Lynn was among the discussion points.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards weighing internal options for righty hitter at first

Cards weighing internal options for righty hitter at first

SAN DIEGO -- While acknowledging that Tuesday's Winter Meetings work gave him a better feel for which right-handed-hitting first baseman may be a fit for the Cardinals' roster hole, general manager John Mozeliak also shed light on some internal candidates that could potentially address the need.

Among them is Stephen Piscotty, drafted in 2012 as a third baseman but now a converted right fielder. Piscotty, ranked by MLB.com as the Cards' top prospect, played first base a bit at Stanford University; however, he hasn't returned to the position since turning pro. With the Cardinals looking for a right-handed hitter to complement Matt Adams at the position, Piscotty stands out as an intriguing option following a strong season at Triple-A.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards to let Martinez wear No. 18 to honor Taveras

Cards to let Martinez wear No. 18 to honor Taveras

SAN DIEGO -- General manager John Mozeliak confirmed that the Cardinals intend to allow Carlos Martinez to take a new uniform number -- 18 -- next season as a way for Martinez to honor Oscar Taveras.

Taveras was assigned No. 18 upon his Major League callup last May, while Martinez pitched with No. 44 on his back in 2014. That was a switch from Martinez's No. 62 in his rookie season. In the weeks after the single-car accident that killed Taveras, Martinez asked if he could take the new number.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

With roster nearly set, Cards keeping low Meetings profile

Right-handed-hitting first baseman one of club's few needs

With roster nearly set, Cards keeping low Meetings profile

SAN DIEGO -- The Cardinals arrived at the Winter Meetings this week in a seemingly enviable position, with the majority of their offseason work already wrapped up and their roster mostly built for 2015. It also positions the organization for an off-the-radar stay in San Diego.

Discarding validity to any rumors connecting them to the big-ticket free-agent starters and suggesting that little traction has been made in finding a fit for the open bench spot, general manager John Mozeliak sat in his hotel room late Monday afternoon looking relaxed and without incentive to have to get something done this week. The only notable activity he had to offer about his day was that he spent time setting up meetings with agents for the next two days.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Adam Wainwright apologizes to fantasy baseball owners

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Adam Wainwright apologizes to fantasy baseball owners

At this point, it's pretty clear that humans were put on this Earth for the sole purpose of playing fantasy sports. After all, didn't Albert Camus write, "Basically, at the very bottom of life, which seduces us all, there is only absurdity, and more absurdity. Except for fantasy sports. Those are very important." 

On Monday, Adam Wainwright apologized to fantasy owners everywhere for any problems he may have caused. After starting Broncos' tight end Julius Thomas during his fantasy football playoffs only for Thomas to sit out, Wainwright was shocked.

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Cards sponsor three auction items to benefit LUNGevity

Cards sponsor three auction items to benefit LUNGevity

SAN DIEGO -- For a third straight year, Major League Baseball's club public relations directors and their staffs have built a unique auction of baseball experiences to raise money for cancer research. This year, however, the cause is especially personal.

The group lost one of its own in February, when Monica Barlow, the 36-year-old director of public relations for the Orioles, passed away after a 4 1/2-year battle with lung cancer. Barlow had been one of the biggest proponents of this auction, which is why her fellow PR directors decided that the beneficiary of this year's auction should be LUNGevity, the nation's largest lung cancer-focused nonprofit foundation.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Boyer, Howsam miss in Golden Era Committee HOF vote

Oliva, Allen fall one vote shy; Kaat misses by two

Boyer, Howsam miss in Golden Era Committee HOF vote

SAN DIEGO -- No one was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday by the museum's Golden Era Committee. Tony Oliva and Dick Allen came the closest, each receiving 11 of 16 votes, one shy of the 75 percent needed for election.

Jim Kaat received 10 votes, followed by Maury Wills with nine and Minnie Minoso with eight. The remainder of the candidates -- Gil Hodges, Ken Boyer, Billy Pierce, Luis Tiant and the late executive Bob Howsam -- each received three or fewer votes.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Could Neshek, Scherzer sign with Cards?

Fans ask about arbitration process, closer role, Holliday at first base

Inbox: Could Neshek, Scherzer sign with Cards?

ST. LOUIS -- With the Winter Meetings on the horizon and several questions about what's left for the Cardinals to do, it's time to resurrect the Inbox feature this offseason. Remember that if you want a question to be considered for future inclusion, e-mail it to me along with your first name, last initial and hometown.

How likely are the Cardinals to re-sign Pat Neshek in the offseason?
-- Jimmy W., Warrenton, Mo.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Former Cardinals pitcher McClellan retires

Former Cardinals pitcher McClellan retires

ST. LOUIS -- Kyle McClellan, a member of the Cardinals' 2011 World Series championship club, announced his retirement from professional baseball through a personal Facebook post Thursday following an unsuccessful attempt to return from shoulder surgery.

His Major League career spanned six seasons, the first five of which he played in his hometown of St. Louis. Used both as a starter and reliever, McClellan combined to go 19-24 with a 3.79 ERA in 268 appearances. The last seven appearances he made came with the Rangers in 2013.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

St. Louis columnist Burwell dies at 59

Selig lauds veteran journalist's passion and professionalism

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis lost one of its most prominent voices Thursday, when longtime sports columnist Bryan Burwell passed away in the early morning hours after a battle with cancer. Burwell was 59.

Burwell was a regular contributor to Cardinals coverage in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which he joined as a columnist in 2002. Before moving to St. Louis, Burwell wrote for USA Today, The Detroit News, New York Daily News and New York Newsday and served as a sports correspondent for HBO's "Inside the NFL."

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.