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Cardinals sign J.R. Towles

In an off-season that didn't seem as if it could get more boring, the Cardinals found another gear of dullness.

They announced Wednesday that they had signed former Astros catcher J.R. Towles to a minor league contract.

Towles, who will be 29 by spring training, is a .187 career hitters in the big leagues. But that number only covers 428 at bats. He hit .375 in 40 at bats to get peoples' hopes up. Then he put up four consecutive seasons of hitting well under .200 with a career total of 11 home runs.

His career highlight came against the Cardinals on Sept. 20, 2007. On that date Towles hit his first home run as a major leaguer as part of an 8-RBI outbreak that set a new Astros team record for runs driven in. The long ball came against second baseman Aaron Miles who was pitching in mop up duty as the Cardinals lost 18-1. The outburst represented three-quarters of Towles RBIs for the season.