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Small-market teams turn buyers at trade deadline
Michael Bourn went from the bottom of the NL Central in Houston to the top of the wild-card standings with Atlanta _ and he wasn’t the only player who suddenly found himself in a pennant race.
Ubaldo Jimenez, Erik Bedard, Rafael Furcal and Mike Adams were also on the move at the end of a topsy-turvy weekend, when the surprising Indians, Pirates and Diamondbacks made some of the boldest moves at baseball’s trade deadline, shedding those longtime seller tags and shopping for immediate help.
All in all, it was a relatively quiet deadline day as the non-waiver cutoff came and went Sunday. The biggest deals came days earlier when All-Star outfielders Carlos Beltran and Hunter Pence changed teams.
Just 2 1/2 games back of Detroit in the AL Central, the Indians completed their Saturday night deal with Colorado for Jimenez about a half-hour before the 4 p.m. EDT deadline. Until then, they were waiting for results of the pitcher’s physical.
“This was a rare and unique opportunity, especially in our market, which comes along few and far between,” Cleveland general manager Chris Antonetti said.
The Indians don’t seem concerned about recent reports that Jimenez, who was 19-8 and an All-Star a year ago, has seen his velocity drop and his ERA rise this year. He is 6-9 with a 4.46 ERA in 21 starts. He had a 2.88 ERA in 2010.
They paid a hefty price for the right-hander who spent much of April on the DL, giving up minor league pitchers Alex White and Joe Gardner, first baseman Matt McBride and a player to be named, expected to be lefty Drew Pomeranz.
“It was painful for us,” Antonetti said, “but we decided the time was right. We’re a better team than we were.”
Division-rival Detroit made a move, too, getting right-hander Doug Fister from Seattle on Saturday and will add him to the rotation. The Tigers also received reliever David Pauley for two prospects and a player to be named.
After a record 18 straight losing seasons, the Pirates are in the thick of it in the NL Central race, and they showed they’re serious in dealing for San Diego outfielder Ryan Ludwick _ a day after acquiring Baltimore first baseman Derrek Lee.
The Diamondbacks bolstered their bullpen, adding Oakland submariner Brad Ziegler as they chase the World Series champion Giants in the NL West. On Saturday, Arizona obtained Jason Marquis from the Nationals.
By Tom Fitton
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White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow