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Cardinals reach deal with LHP Choate

The St. Louis Cardinals made their first major move of the offseason on Wednesday, agreeing to terms with veteran relief pitcher Randy Choate on a three-year contract.

CBSSports.com reported that the deal is worth $7.5 million.

Choate has been one of the game's more effective lefty specialists during his 12-year big league career, having held left-handed hitters to a .201 average over that time. The 37-year-old limited southpaws to a mere .158 average over a combined 80 games last season, which he split between the Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers.

The journeyman hurler also posted a 3.03 earned run average in 2012 and owns an 11-11 record with a 4.02 ERA over 476 lifetime appearances, all of which have come in relief.

Choate broke into the majors with the New York Yankees in 2000 and has also pitched for Arizona and Tampa Bay in addition to the Marlins and Dodgers.

The Cardinals had made obtaining a second left-hander to pair with returnee Mark Rzepcynski in the bullpen as one of their top priorities during the Winter Meetings.

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