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DeJong after homer for Cards

The Cardinals' Paul DeJong (11) is congratulated by teammate Matt Carpenter after hitting a homer last season in St. Louis. DeJong, a former Illinois State star, will be among those appearing at the Cardinal Caravan stop in Bloomington on Jan. 13 at the Parke Regency Hotel.


BLOOMINGTON — Former Illinois State star Paul DeJong will be among the St. Louis Cardinals players and alumni appearing at the Cardinal Caravan stop Jan. 13 at Bloomington's Parke Regency Hotel.

The event will begin at 4:30 p.m. and admission is free. Doors open at 3:30 p.m.

The Cardinals will be implementing the Autograph Ticket system at each Caravan stop. The first 400 children (15 and under) will receive a free Autograph Ticket which guarantees one autograph from each current and former player. Due to high demand, autographs will only be available for children 15 and under.

There also will be auction items and Cardinals prize drawings.

DeJong had a breakout rookie season in 2017. He was called up from Triple-A Memphis on May 31 and became the Cardinals' starting shortstop. He batted .285 with 25 home runs and 65 runs batted in, finishing second in National League Rookie of the Year voting.

DeJong played three years at Illinois State before being drafted in the fourth round by the Cardinals in the 2015 June Amateur Draft.

Also slated to appear are outfielder Oscar Mercado, catcher Andrew Knizner and former Cardinal pitchers Alan Benes and Randy Flores. Flores is now the team's Director of Scouting.

Mercado played at Double-A Springfield (Mo.) last season, batting .287 with 13 home runs, 46 RBIs and 38 stolen bases. Knizner split time between Class A Peoria and Springfield, hitting .302 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs.

Mercado is the Cardinals' No. 17 prospect and Knizner No. 26, according to

Former Cardinal pitcher and current broadcaster Ricky Horton will serve as emcee. For more information on the event, contact 309-829-1221.


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