St. Louis signed infielder Joe Thurston and catcher Justin Knoedler to Minor League contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training. Thurston, 29, was once one of the Dodgers' more highly-regarded prospects and is coming off a fine season with the Red Sox's Triple-A Pawtucket affiliate. Knoedler came up through the Giants organization, but struggled at the plate for the A's Triple-A Sacramento club in 2008.
Each has had a few cups of coffee in the Majors. Thurston has actually had several, going 15-for-66 in 59 games over parts of five big league seasons. Knoedler is 2-for-18 in 14 games over three seasons.
While Knoedler likely provides depth at Triple-A Memphis, providing a right-handed platoon partner for prospect Bryan Anderson, Thurston could have an outside shot at cracking the big club. Aaron Miles' return is not a certainty after he was non-tendered, so the Cardinals have one open spot for a middle infielder at this point. Other candidates could include Brendan Ryan and Tyler Greene.
Additionally, both Triple-A Memphis and low Class A Quad Cities announced their 2009 coaching staffs on Tuesday. Both staffs will return entirely intact, with Chris Maloney managing Memphis and Steve Dillard helming Quad Cities.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less