The Cardinals have signed former Dodgers utility player Eugenio Velez and former Brewers pitcher R.J. Swindle to minor league contracts.
Velez, 29, holds the major league record for the most at bats in a major league season without collecting a hit. He "accomplished" the feat in last with Los Angeles when he went hitless in his first 37 trips to the plate. I guess we can consider ourselves even with southern California on the stealing free agents front...
While he's put up big numbers in the minor leagues, Velez hasn't ever stuck at the big league level where he's put together a .241 career batting average with eight home runs dating back to 2007. His best year was 2005 when he managed 307 plate appearances. He batted .267 with five homers and 31 runs batted in.
Swindle, 27, last pitched in the major leagues in 2009. He allowed 12 hits in 6 2/3 innings with a 16.20 ERA with Milwaukee. Overall he has a 12.71 ERA in 11 1/3 career innings pitched. He's walked six in that short span. But if you're wondering why the Cardinals have interest, there are two reasons. 1) He's lefthanded. 2) In those 11/3 innings, Swindle has struck out 12 hitters.
In eight minor league seasons, Swindle is 31-17 with a 2.37 ERA. He has 496 strikeouts in 493 minor league innings.