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01/10/2007 6:32 PM ET
Cards and lefty Mark Mulder agree to new deal
Redbirds also ink RHP Ryan Franklin, outfielder Rick Ankiel and infielder Jolbert Cabrera
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ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals concluded a busy day of signings this afternoon, announcing that they have agreed to terms with lefty starter Mark Mulder and right-handed swing man Ryan Franklin on Major League deals, while also signing Rick Ankiel and infielder Jolbert Cabrera to Minor League contracts that include invites to big-league Spring Training.

Mulder's deal is a two-year pact that includes a club option for the 2009 season. Franklin, Ankiel and Cabrera each signed one-year deals.

"Mulder's return will be a real boost to our rotation," stated Cardinals Senior Vice President/General Manager Walt Jocketty. "We've seen what he is capable of when healthy. Mark is very determined to return to his All-Star form."

Mulder, 29, owns a career mark of 103-57 with a 4.11 ERA. His 94 wins since the 2001 season rank third among all lefties behind just Randy Johnson (101) and Barry Zito (95). He went 16-8 for the Cardinals in 2005 before dropping to 6-7 last year in an injury-plagued season that forced him to undergo rotator cuff surgery on Sept. 12.

Franklin, 34, split the 2006 season between Philadelphia and Cincinnati, appearing in a career-high 66 games while going a combined 6-7 with a 4.54 ERA in 77.1 IP (10th among NL relievers).

Franklin has compiled a career mark of 41-57 with a 4.35 ERA in 247 games, including 106 games started. He started 30 or more games for the Seattle Mariners from 2003-05 and logged more than 200 innings pitched in both 2003 and 2004.

"Ryan's a durable pitcher who can help us in a number of ways," said Jocketty. "We'll bring him to camp and see where he is best suited to help our staff."

Ankiel, 27, missed the entire 2006 season due to a left knee injury suffered in Spring Training. In 2005, he batted a combined .259 with 21 home runs and 75 RBIs at Double-A Springfield and Class A Quad Cities in his first full season as an outfielder.

Cabrera, 34, looks to return to the Major Leagues after spending the last two seasons playing in Japan. He batted .260 with eight home runs and 50 RBIs while playing for the Fukuoka Hawks last season and .297 with eight home runs and 58 RBIs for the Hawks in 2005. Cabrera last appeared in the States as a reserve with the Seattle Mariners in 2004. Perhaps his finest season came in 2003 with the Dodgers, when he batted a career-high .282 with 32 doubles, six home runs and 37 RBIs while playing seven different positions. Cabrera owns a .258 lifetime batting average with 15 home runs and 145 RBIs in 561 career Major League games.

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