Cardinals sign FIU shortstop Garrett Wittels

SAINT LOUIS ( - The St. Louis Cardinals signed Florida International University junior shortstop Garrett Wittels to a free agent contract on Saturday and assigned him to the Batavia Muckdogs of the New York-Penn League.

Wittels drew national attention as he put together a 56-game hitting streak as a sophomore in 2010 that ended in the first contest of 2011. It was just two games short of Oklahoma State's Robin Ventura's 58-game Division I record set in 1987 and four behind the NCAA all-divisions mark held by Damian Costantino of Division III Salve Regina from 2001-03.

That season, Wittels was on top of the world. He hit .412, drove in 60 runs, won the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Award and was named an All-American. Wittels led his team to an NCAA appearance and was nominated for the ESPY award for the Best Male College Athlete.