Furcal returning to the Cardinals

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals and shortstop Rafael Furcal have agreed to a $14-million, two-year contract, keeping the switch-hitter with the World Series champions after they picked him up at the July trade deadline.

The deal is pending a physical. A team spokesman said Monday night the Cardinals hope to finalize the contract this week.

Furcal would get a signing bonus of $1 million with salaries of $6 million next year and $7 million in 2013.

The Cardinals had considered giving perennial prospect Tyler Greene a shot at regular duty, especially if they would have re-signed first baseman Albert Pujols. The 34-year-old Furcal gives St. Louis a leadoff option plus one of the strongest arms at his position.

Furcal had career lows with a .231 batting average and .298 on-base percentage in an injury-interrupted 2011, playing only 87 games. He had eight homers and 28 RBI. He batted .255 with a .316 on-base percentage after joining the Cardinals in a deal with the Dodgers.

Furcal struggled at the plate in the postseason, too, batting .195. In Game 7 of the World Series, he was dropped to seventh in the batting order.

The 28-year-old Greene, a former first-round pick, has totaled 150 games the last three seasons with St. Louis with a .218 average and .312 on-base percentage.

Greene had been in line to get an extended audition last September before the Cardinals began gaining ground on the Braves, and instead got only two at-bats the final month.

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