JUPITER, Fla. -- Still trying to finish piecing together their bullpen, the Cardinals have made a late addition to the competition by signing right-hander David Aardsma to a Minor League deal.
Before the organization even announced the signing, Aardsma was in the Cardinals' clubhouse on Wednesday with a No. 53 uniform hanging at what had been a vacant locker. He was released by Cleveland on Friday and chose to sign with St. Louis after garnering interest from multiple clubs.
Aardsma, like Pat Neshek, would need to be added to the 40-man roster if the Cardinals plan to have him in their bullpen on Opening Day. Currently, there are 39 players on that roster.
Aardsma pitched well this spring, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked none. He was in Indians camp under a Minor League deal and would have been due a $100,000 retention bonus had the Indians kept him through Tuesday. He requested the release once Cleveland had determined he would not break camp with the Major League team.
Aardsma, who last pitched in a spring game on March 16, had been throwing in Tempe, Ariz., since becoming a free agent.
The 32-year-old has played parts of eight seasons in the Majors with seven different clubs. He was most recently with the Mets, with whom he posted a 4.31 ERA and 1.462 WHIP in 43 appearances last season. He has a career 4.23 ERA in 298 games and spent the 2009-10 seasons as the Mariners' closer.
Aardsma began his big league career in 2004 in San Francisco, where Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was his catcher the following year.
The Cardinals are likely to get Aardsma some work in relief on Wednesday so the Major League staff can get at least one look at him before making final roster decisions.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB.