Cards ink Fuentes to Minors deal

The Cardinals signed free agent Brian Fuentes to a Minor League deal on Saturday, thereby giving the organization another left-handed reliever to consider for the club’s unstable bullpen.

Fuentes will not join the big league immediately, but instead will report to the team’s Gulf Coast League affiliate on Sunday to begin a predetermined seven-day Minor League program. That will give Fuentes, 36, time to shake off some rust (he hasn’t pitched since June 30), as well as time to work on a few mechanical adjustments.

“He wants to get himself right,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said. “I think he’s approaching it with the right attitude. Even if he can get himself partially back to where he can help add depth – not only from the left side but also to be able to get right-handers out – that would be important.”

The Cardinals could extend Fuentes’ Minor League stay through the end of the month, if they think that’s best. Fuentes has a July 31 out clause built into his contract that would allow him to ask for his release if he has not been called up to the Majors by the end of the month.

Fuentes was released by the A’s earlier this month. He had other offers to consider but ultimately weighed the chance to pitch for a contender most heavily. The four-time All-Star last pitched in the postseason with Minnesota in 2010.

— Jenifer Langosch

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