JUPITER, Fla. (AP) _ Carlos Baerga, who had been trying to win the second-base job with the St. Louis Cardinals, was placed on waivers Wednesday for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release.

Signed as a free agent in the offseason, the 30-year-old Baerga was just 2-for-15 in six games this spring.

During a four-year stretch from 1992-95, he topped .300 each season, twice drove in 100 runs and had 90 RBIs another season.

He was a three-time All-Star with Cleveland, but after the Indians traded him to the New York Mets in 1996, his production declined rapidly. The last two seasons, he totaled 16 homers and 105 RBIs. He hit .266 for the Mets last season.

The Cardinals lost last season's second baseman, Delino DeShields, to free agency in the offseason. David Howard and Shawon Dunston are now the candidates to replace him.

By releasing Baerga now, the Cardinals are responsible for 30 days' termination pay, $163,934, rather than his entire salary, listed at $1 million but scheduled to increase to $1.25 million if he made the opening day active roster. He was coming off a $21.4 million, six-year contract he signed with the Indians.