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Cardinals bring back Jake Westbrook for two years

Jake Westbrook

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jake Westbrook throws in the first inning during a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)


Update:’s Ken Rosenthal says Westbrook will receive a $16.5 million guarantee.

The dollars aren’t in yet, but free agent Jake Westbrook will stick with the Cardinals after agreeing to a two-year deal with a mutual option for 2013, Fanhouse’s Ed Price reports.

Back from Tommy John surgery, the sinkerballing Westbrook went 10-11 with a 4.22 ERA in 202 2/3 innings last season. After being traded from Cleveland to St. Louis at the deadline, he was 4-4 with a 3.48 ERA in 12 starts.

Although he missed most of 2008 all of 2009, Westbrook seemed like one of the safest options available in the pitching market. He’d rarely had arm problems previously, and his stuff came all of the way back following surgery. An extreme groundball pitcher, he’s never allowed more than 20 homers in a season.

Westbrook’s return is one reason the Cardinals should think long and hard about sticking with Brendan Ryan at shortstop and replacing Skip Schumaker at second base. Indications have been that they want to do the opposite, but while Schumaker is the better bet of the two to bounce back offensively, he’s a subpar defensive second baseman. Ryan, on the other hand, might be the game’s best defensive shortstop at the moment.