Cardinals sign free-agent Ronny Cedeno

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have agreed to terms with free-agent infielder Ronny Cedeno on a one-year contract for the 2013 season.  The Cardinals also announced that they have invited 16 non-roster players to Major League Spring Training Camp, including outfielder Oscar Taveras and right-handed pitcher Seth Maness (pronounced May-niss), their 2012 Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively.

The Cardinals also have named Bengie Molina, the older brother of All-Star catcher Yadier Molina, as the ball club’s new Assistant Hitting Coach, teaming with Hitting Coach John Mabry.

Cedeno, 29, is a veteran of eight seasons in the majors, debuting with the Chicago Cubs in 2005.  The right-handed hitting Cedeno gives the Cardinals added veteran depth on the infield, where he has posted a .974 fielding pct. at shortstop since 2010, ranking 4th in the National League.  Cedeno batted .259 with 4 home runs and 22 RBI in 78 games for the New York Mets last season, making appearances at short, second base and third base.  A career .303 (27-for-89) hitter at Busch Stadium, Cedeno served as the Pittsburgh Pirates regular shortstop in 2010 and 2011.  To make room for Cedeno on the team’s 40-man roster, the Cardinals have designated left-handed pitcher Barret Browning for assignment.

Joining Taveras and Maness among the non-roster invitees are 11 additional players who were developed within the Cardinals farm system, which recently was rated tops in baseball by Baseball America.  Pitching prospects Carlos Martinez and 2012 first round draft pick Michael Wacha will be joined by 2011 first round pick, infielder Kolten Wong.  Catchers Rob Johnson and J.R. Towles join outfielder Justin Christian among the invitees with past Major League experience.

Cardinals’ pitchers and catchers report to Jupiter, Fla. on Monday, February 11 and hold their first workout on Tuesday, February 12.  The Cardinals full squad reports on Thursday, February 14 and conducts its first workout on Friday, February 15, followed by their opening Grapefruit League contest on Saturday, February 23 against the Miami Marlins.