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Halos outfield less crowded as Bourjos dealt to Cardinals for Freese

Peter Bourjos and his Gold Glove-caliber defense are headed to the Midwest.

Just a day after his name appeared in trade rumors with the St. Louis Cardinals, the speedy outfielder was dealt on Thursday along with minor league outfielder Randall Grichuk in exchange for third baseman David Freese and reliever Fernando Salas.

Freese, who was the 2011 World Series MVP and is best known for his game-tying double in the 9th inning and walk-off home run in the 11th inning of Game 6 of that series, comes to the Halos after having a down year in 2013 following an injury during Grapefruit League play.

The 30-year-old hit .262 with nine home runs and 60 RBI in 138 games for the Cardinals, however, before the 2013 campaign, Freese had never hit below .293 in any of the previous four seasons in which he played a major league game.

''He knows how to drive in the important runs,'' Angels general manager Jerry DiPoto said. ''That's something that really fits in our lineup.''

For his career, Freese is a .286 hitter in 1,567 major league at-bats. The Angels will have two more years of control of the third baseman.

Salas also had a down 2013 for St. Louis, spending a decent chunk of the year in the minors. The 28-year-old made just 27 appearances with the Cardinals with a 4.50 ERA just two years after notching 24 saves with a 2.28 ERA before being uprooted as the closer by a white-hot Jason Motte.

Bourjos, who came with big expectations after his promotion from the minors in 2010 resulted in the relocation of Torii Hunter to right field on a full-time basis, wound up hitting .251 in three-plus seasons with 144 runs scored and 41 stolen bases in 354 games.

The 26-year-old was always known for his defense, but health issues limited him to 156 games in the last two seasons after playing 147 in 2011.

''We did juggle some things around to make sure he got an opportunity, and it didn't play out the way we hoped or the way he hoped,'' DiPoto said.

Grichuk, 22, was drafted 24th overall in the 2009 draft, just two slots after the Halos picked Mike Trout. He spent 2013 at Class AA Arkansas, hitting .256 with 22 home runs and 64 RBI in 128 games with the Travs.

The trade of Bourjos clears up the logjam in the Angels' outfield created by the breakout second-half of Kole Calhoun. Josh Hamilton will likely return to left field, with Trout in center, Calhoun in right and JB Shuck as the first off the bench when any of the trio need a day off.

It also fills a long-standing void at third created by the departure of Chone Figgins after the 2010 season. Before Freese, the Angels had Mark Trumbo work there in the Spring of 2012 before jettisoning the experiment when his hitting suffered. They also used Alberto Callaspo, Luis Jimenez, Andrew Romine, Chris Nelson and Brendan Harris at various times in 2013.