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01/11/12 5:30 PM EST

ESPN to broadcast Cards' season opener

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals fans all over the country will be able to watch the team's season opener on television, regardless of where they're located.

ESPN announced Wednesday that the World Series champions' 2012 lid-lifter will be carried on the network on April 4 at 6 p.m. CT. It's a one-game "series" for St. Louis and Florida. The Wednesday night game will be the first game of the Major League season and the only regular-season game that day.

Following the opener, the Cardinals will have an off-day on April 5, then three games in Milwaukee and three games in Cincinnati. The Cards' home opener is Friday, April 13, at 2:15 p.m. CT against the Cubs.

The game can also be seen on MLB.TV.

Cardinals sign catcher Hill to Minors contract

ST. LOUIS -- General manager John Mozeliak confirmed on Wednesday that the Cardinals have signed catcher Koyie Hill to a Minor League contract. Hill, who turns 33 in March, spent the past five seasons with the Cubs organization.

The Cardinals are still most likely to go with Tony Cruz as their backup catcher for 2012, following the youngster's solid showing as a rookie in 2011. But Hill offers depth at the position, joining Bryan Anderson as potential challengers to Cruz for playing time or options at Triple-A Memphis.

Hill has played parts of eight seasons, spending time with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks as well as Chicago. He's a lifetime .211 hitter with a .275 on-base percentage, a .298 slugging percentage, eight homers and 75 RBIs in 927 big league plate appearances.

He has thrown out 49 of 177 would-be base-stealers in his career, a caught-stealing rate of 28 percent.

Cards release new details for Winter Warm-Up

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals revealed additional details about the 2012 Winter Warm-Up on Wednesday, with the annual fan festival three days away.

The Warm-Up runs from Saturday through Monday, starting at 9 a.m. CT each day. It ends at 5 p.m. CT on Saturday and Sunday and 3 p.m. on Monday.

The club unveiled times for some of the weekend's events. General manager John Mozeliak will host a question-and-answer session with fans on Saturday at 12:30 p.m., and farm director John Vuch will speak about the club's Minor League system at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Sunday will be highlighted by a panel discussion with members of the 1964 and 2011 World Series champion teams, set for 2:15 p.m. Monday's main event is a conversation with current and former managers Mike Matheny and Tony La Russa at 1:30 p.m.

Passes for the Winter Warm-Up may still be purchased at cardinals.com. Full autograph schedules are posted at cardinals.com/WinterWarmup.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.