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Cardinals near deal with J.C. Romero

The Cardinals apparently are close to filling the opening for a second lefty in their bullpen with former Phillies southpaw J.C. Romero.

The 13-year veteran pitched in 60 games for Philadelphia in 2010 with a 1-0 record and a 3.68 ERA. But he struggled in 2011 and was 1-0 with a 4.01 ERA in a season split between the Phillies and Colorado.

Romero, 35, saw his walks and hits per innings pitched ratio rise from 1.10:1 in 2007 to 1.74:1 last season. His walks to strikeouts ratio has also been terrible. He walked 15 last season while striking out 19 in 36 innings pitched. In 2010 he walked 29 and struck out 28.

At this stage of his career, Romero has become a one or two out guy against lefties almost exclusively. He was hit to the tune of a .322 average in 2011 by righty batters. But he held lefties to a .231 mark.