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Alomar would replace Womack at second base

ST. LOUIS -- Searching for the final piece to a revamped
middle infield, the St. Louis Cardinals are working on a deal with
switch-hitting second baseman Roberto Alomar.

Cardinals spokesman Brian Bartow said Thursday that "certainly
there are talks between the two sides" as the NL champions look to
replace Tony Womack, who signed this month with the New York
Yankees.

Bartow labeled as premature a report that the Cardinals had
signed Alomar, a 10-time Gold Glove winner, to a $500,000, one-year
contract.

Alomar turns 37 in February and played in just 56 games last
year because of a broken right hand after being hit by a pitch.

Alomar's agent, Jaime Torres, refused to discuss the Cardinals'
interest in the 12-time All-Star, who is a career .300 hitter.
Alomar split last season between Arizona and the Chicago White Sox,
batting a combined .263 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 171
plate appearances.

Over his 17-year major league career, Alomar has 2,724 hits, 210
homers, 1,508 runs and 1,136 RBI in 2,379 games, with a .371
on-base percentage, .443 slugging percentage and 474 stolen bases.

Last week, former Anaheim shortstop David Eckstein agreed to a
$10.25 million, three-year contract with St. Louis. Eckstein,
who'll replace Womack in the leadoff slot, succeeds Edgar Renteria,
lured to Boston by a $40 million, four-year contract.

Alomar started his career in San Diego, became a star during
five seasons with the Blue Jays when they won two World Series, and
went to Baltimore and Cleveland before joining the Mets in 2002.

Alomar won 10 Gold Gloves in the American League in 11 seasons
from 1991 through 2001. He hit .336 with Cleveland in 2001, but has
struggled at the plate since then, batting just .266, .258 and .263
over the past three seasons.

Alomar would be latest major offseason acquisitions for the
Cardinals, who obtained 17-game winner Mark Mulder from Oakland for
two pitchers and a minor league catching prospect.