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Duke cut loose

The Pirates have non-tendered 27-year-old lefty Zach Duke.

And, while it might seem like the rotation is full, the Cardinals ought to take a flier on the talented -- yet star crossed -- young hurler.

You can never have too much pitching. And with Kyle Lohse still a question mark and Chris Carpenter always one pitch away from another extended stay on the disabled list, I have to believe St. Louis could fit in Duke somehow.

He seems like the sort of guy -- high on talent, low on consistency -- that pitching coach Dave Duncan is most likely to be able to help.

Duke won 11 games in 2009 with a respectable 4.06 ERA before falling on hard times in 2010 with an 8-15 mark and a 5.72 ERA. He would have made close to $5 million in 2011 if Pittsburgh would have offered him arbitration. But he'll likely get a minor league contract and an invitation to spring training now.

It's a low risk investment for a guy who could probably benefit greatly from a change of scenery.