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Cardinals sign outfielder Beltran

ST. LOUIS -- Carlos Beltran and the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to a two-year contract pending results of a physical, fortifying the team's lineup following the departure of Albert Pujols.

The team disclosed the move Thursday night and said it expects to make a formal announcement shortly after the holidays.

KMOX, the Cardinals' flagship radio station, reported the deal is for $26 million over two years -- the same figure cited by a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because financial details of the agreement were not announced by the team.

The 34-year-old Beltran batted .300 with 22 home runs, 84 RBIs and a .385 on-base percentage for the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants this year. He likely will be the opening-day right fielder for the Cardinals next season. Lance Berkman is expected to move to first base, taking Pujols' spot.

A six-time All-Star, Beltran began his career with the cross-state Royals in 1998, three years after Kansas City drafted him in the second round. The switch-hitter has a .283 career batting average with 302 home runs and 1,146 RBIs.

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