Cardinals recruit Leake relishing Cubs rivalry

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Mike Leake wants to take down MLB rivals the Chicago Cubs after joining the St Louis Cardinals as a free agent.

Right-handed pitcher Leake was unveiled by the Cardinals on Tuesday, moving to St Louis on a five-year deal reportedly worth $80million.

Arriving from the San Francisco Giants, Leake will join Adam Wainwright, Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha and perhaps Jaime Garcia in the St Louis rotation, and the 28-year-old quickly turned his attention to the Cardinals' National League rivals.

"Honestly," he said on Tuesday, "I wouldn't mind taking them [the Cubs] down."

Leake was a mainstay in the Cincinnati Reds' rotation until being dealt to the Giants in July and favoured an off-season switch to hometown team the Arizona Diamondbacks, who opted to sign Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller.

He is 64-52 with a 3.88 ERA in 177 big-league appearances, all but five of them starts. He also is among the best-hitting pitchers in the game, with a .212 career average and six home runs.

"Honestly, once Arizona got out of the picture I was open to whatever team I felt fit my needs the best," Leake said.

"[Arizona] was my number one. Coming here has turned into my new number one."

Leake, who was selected by the Reds with the eighth overall pick in 2009, is 64-52 with a 3.88 ERA in 177 big-league appearances, all but five of them starts.

He also is among the best-hitting pitchers in the game, with a .212 career average and six home runs.