Cardinals sign catcher Gerald Laird to one-year deal

Saint Louis (St. Louis Globe Democrat) – The St. Louis Cardinals announced Tuesday that they have agreed to terms with free-agent catcher Gerald Laird on a one-year contract for the upcoming 2011 season. Financial terms of the deal were not released.

Laird, 31, has played exclusively in the American League with both Texas (2003-08) and Detroit (2009-10), recording a career .242 batting mark with 34 home runs and 192 RBI in 598 games.

The right-handed hitting Laird appeared in 89 games for the Tigers in 2010 and finished 3rd in the American League in catcher's throwing pct. (29.2%), 3rd in base runners caught stealing (24) and 3rd in assists (52).

The 6-1, 225-pound Westminster, CA native ranks 2nd among all American League catchers in caught stealing pct. (35.8%) since 2006 and his 142 base runners caught stealing over the past five seasons (2006-10) leads all Major League catchers.

Laird enjoyed his best overall season in 2006 for the Rangers, batting .296 with 20 doubles and 7 home runs in 78 games. He's hit at a .331 (60-for-181) career clip against National League teams, including a .298 (34-for-114) mark against N.L. Central clubs.