The St. Louis Cardinals have signed free-agent middle infielder Ronny Cedeno to a one-year deal for 2013, the team announced Monday.
Cedeno, 29, has played eight seasons in the major leagues, and hit .259 with four home runs and 22 RBIs in 78 games for the New York Mets last year.
The move gives the Cardinals another option if Rafael Furcal doesn't return from a throwing elbow injury that sidelined him for most of the second half of last season.
The team also announced it was inviting 16 non-roster players to the opening of training camp in two weeks, including prized outfield prospect Oscar Taveras and pitcher Seth Maness, the organization's minor-league player and pitcher of the year in 2012.
In other news, the club announced the long-anticipated hiring of Bengie Molina as the major-league team's assistant hitting coach. Bengie, the older brother of Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, will work under new hitting coach John Mabry. He took that position this winter after Mark McGwire was hired as the Los Angeles Dodger's hitting coach.
Cardinals pitchers and catchers are due in camp in Jupiter, Fla. on Feb. 11, with the first workout set for the next day. The remainder of the club reports on Feb. 14 with the first full-squad workout set for Feb. 15.
The team opens Grapefruit League play with a game Feb. 23 against the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.