Infielder Alex Cora released by Cardinals

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) Alex Cora’s brief career with St. Louis ended Sunday when the Cardinals released the utility infielder.

Cora hit .208 in 24 at-bats with one run, one RBI and no extra base hits. He had agreed Feb. 6 to a minor league contract that would have paid $800,000 if he had been added to the 40-man roster.

A 36-year-old who began his big league career with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1998, Cora hit .224 with seven extra-base hits in 172 plate appearances for Washington last year. He also has played for Cleveland, Boston, the New York Mets and Texas.

St. Louis released Cora despite injuries in the middle infield. Skip Schumaker, last year’s starting second baseman will likely start the season on the disabled list with an oblique injury and could be headed to the outfield when he returns.

World Series star Allen Craig, who saw time at second base along with the corner infield positions and the outfield, has yet to play in a major league spring training game following knee surgery but appears to be getting close to returning to the field.

Former first-round draft choice Tyler Greene looks to get the opening-day start at second. Daniel Descalso, Sunday’s starter at second base in the Cardinals’ victory over Minnesota, also fills a utility infield role.

Rafael Furcal is slated to start at shortstop for the Cardinals, while World Series MVP David Freese holds down third.

St. Louis also released catcher Koyie Hill.