- Associated Press - Saturday, July 30, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - First baseman Derrek Lee has been told by the Baltimore Orioles that they are close to completing a trade that would send him to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Lee says Baltimore manager Buck Showalter informed him Friday night that the deal is nearly finished.

Following a 17-3 loss to the New York Yankees, several Orioles teammates came over to Lee at his locker to ask about the trade and say goodbye with a hug or handshake.

Lee would give the surprising Pirates a smooth-fielding first baseman with a capable right-handed bat, two things Pittsburgh could use as it tries to stay close in a crowded NL Central race.

After a slow start in Baltimore, Lee has come on of late. He is batting .246 with 12 homers and 41 RBIs this season.