Before even throwing a pitch, David Aardsma might have nailed down the final spot in the St. Louis Cardinals' bullpen.
The Cardinals signed the 32-year-old right-hander, a former closer for the Seattle Mariners, to a minor-league deal Wednesday. Aardsma joined the team in spring training and will be given the opportunity to make the club.
Keith Butler, Scott McGregor and Jorge Rondon had been vying for the last opening in the bullpen, but Aardsma's experience alone gives him the advantage over the other candidates.
Aardsma was released last week by the Cleveland Indians despite going 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA and five strikeouts in six innings. Aardsma has a 4.23 ERA in 298 career games, with 69 saves. He posted a career-high 38 saves in 2009, which were fourth in the American League.
Aardsma also has pitched for the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and New York Mets in a much-traveled career.
Aardsma missed the entire 2011 season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. He will wear No. 53 with St. Louis.