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Updated: January 21st, 2011 3:47pm
Nick Punto signs one-year deal with Cardinals

Nick Punto signs one-year deal with Cardinals

by Phil Mackey
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The Nick Punto era has come to an end in Minnesota.

According to multiple reports, Punto signed a one-year, $700,000 contract with the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.

The Twins at least mildly considered re-signing Punto, who earned $8 million over a two-year contract from 2009-2010. But the 33-year-old utility infielder had trouble staying on the field, nursing various ailments, and the Twins have younger, cheaper options to fill the same hole -- Trevor Plouffe and Matt Tolbert, to name two.

In seven seasons with the Twins Punto hit .248/.323/.324 with 12 home runs and 89 stolen bases in 2,707 plate appearances, but when healthy he was one of the best defensive infielders in baseball.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd