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Wigginton set for bench role in St. Louis

The SportsXchange

Pinch-hitting hasn't been the forte of new St. Louis Cardinals infielder Ty Wigginton, but the 35-year-old veteran realizes that could be much of his job in 2013.

Wigginton, signed to a two-year, $5 million contract as a free agent, batted just .152 in 33 at-bats as a pinch hitter in 2012. He has had only 48 pinch at-bats over the last three years. Most of his damage -- he's had four 20-homers seasons, and he hit 11 homers last season with Philadelphia -- has come when he's played third base, first base, second base or in the outfield rather than off the bench.

With the Cardinals largely having a set lineup, though, Wigginton said, "I was looking for an opportunity to win.

"Early in my career, I didn't want to have that type of role, and I don't think I could have done well in that kind of role."

Bench strength, especially from the right-handed side, was one of the Cardinals' weaknesses last season. St. Louis pinch hitters batted only .190, and the only homer was hit by veteran Lance Berkman, who became a free agent after the season.

General manager John Mozeliak, asked why he proffered a two-year contract to Wigginton, said that this particular bench role "is not a piece, by definition, that you can get from your system."
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