- Associated Press - Sunday, July 25, 2010

PHOENIX (AP) - The Los Angeles Angels were looking to make a counter move after rival Texas landed Cliff Lee.

Dan Haren fits that bill nicely.

The Angels acquired the three-time All-Star in a trade with the Diamondbacks on Sunday, sending left-hander Joe Saunders and three other players to Arizona.

One of the most prized pitchers available as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches, Haren joins a Los Angeles rotation that’s solid up front but is missing injured left-hander Scott Kazmir.

“At this point, being on the West Coast has a lot of value to me, being near my family and going to a ballclub that is dedicated to winning,” Haren said after Arizona’s 10-inning loss to San Francisco. “I am really excited about going there and having a chance to win.”

The last-place Diamondbacks also get right-hander Rafael Rodriguez, left-hander Patrick Corbin and a player to be named in the deal for Haren.

“A top-of-the-rotation guy that’s going to help us not just this year but years down the road,” Angels general manager Tony Reagins said in Texas before his team played the Rangers. “The addition of Dan gives us five guys that are really talented.”

The AL West-leading Rangers made the first big move, obtaining Lee from Seattle. The ace left-hander arrived in a July 9 deal for rookie first baseman Justin Smoak and a package of prospects.

Los Angeles, trailing Texas by six games heading into Sunday night, boosted its lineup last week by adding infielder Alberto Callaspo in a trade with Kansas City and has now refined its rotation.

“There are still opportunities out there. We’re not done trying to improve our club,” Reagins said.

The 29-year-old Haren has averaged 15 wins over the past five seasons and is 7-8 with a 4.60 ERA in 21 starts this year. In his sixth season, the right-hander was tied for the NL lead with 141 strikeouts through Saturday’s games.

“He’s a guy that we’ve tracked the last month or so and seen him pitch and his stuff is good,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “This is a huge opportunity for us to upgrade not only now but for the next several years. He’s definitely a guy who has pitched in big games. He has terrific stuff and he’s a young veteran. This guy still has his stuff and it gives us a deeper front end of our rotation and that’s what every championship-caliber team is really striving to do.”

The trade ends a long ordeal for Haren, in the second season of a four-year, $44.75 million contract with a club option for a fifth year. He had been rumored to be going to three or four different teams. Now he can relax, headed to a winning club and back to Southern California, where he grew up and still has family.

Haren might not make his Angels debut right away, though. Scioscia was still deciding where to slip him into the rotation. After playing Texas, Los Angeles heads home to face the Red Sox.

“I believe his turn would be tomorrow, but we’re going to evaluate a couple of things and get a chance to talk to him and see where he is,” the manager said. “We’ve got guys who are on regular turn now, so we do have the luxury of folding him in somewhere or putting him out there to pitch tomorrow.”

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