- The Washington Times - Monday, August 31, 2009

ST. LOUIS | Infielder Ronnie Belliard leaped up in the standings Sunday, moving from the last-place Nationals to the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Nationals sent Belliard to the Dodgers for minor league right-hander Luis Garcia and a pitcher to be named later. Garcia, 22, had a 2.92 ERA in 71 innings as a reliever with the Dodgers’ affiliate in the Class A Midwest League.

General manager Mike Rizzo identified Garcia as the player the club had to have to make the deal. The Nationals’ scouting reports listed Garcia as having a fastball that hit 94 mph this year to go with a slider and command of both pitches. He allowed only 15 walks.

“His upside is really good,” Rizzo said. “We’re excited about getting him. He’s the part of the deal we fought hard to extract.”

To be eligible for a postseason roster, a player must be with a club by the close of the business day Monday. Rizzo said he does not expect to make any more deals with contenders but is always open to the possibility.

The Dodgers will pick up the remainder of Belliard’s salary, about $365,000. The Nationals will replace Belliard on the roster with outfielder Justin Maxwell, who will join the club for Monday’s game at San Diego.

Belliard spent three seasons with the Nationals and departed with mixed feelings.

“I’m happy because I’ll be in L.A. and that team is in first place,” said Belliard, who accompanied his former team on a flight to San Diego. “I’m sad because I’m leaving a lot of friends.”

The Dodgers plan to use Belliard in a utility role, an assignment Belliard resisted during the first half this season. He came to terms with the job after the All-Star break and gladly will perform the role for the Dodgers.

“It’s a compliment,” Belliard said of the trade. “Whatever I can do to help them win some games, I’ll do.”

Orr’s travels

In four days, Pete Orr has gone from marooned at Syracuse of the Class AAA International League to the Nationals’ front-line second baseman.

Orr started his third consecutive game Sunday and will remain at second for the immediate future. With shortstop Cristian Guzman having problems moving because of a bunion, interim manager Jim Riggleman plans on starting a middle-infield combination of shortstop Alberto Gonzalez and Orr during the series that opens at San Diego on Monday.

This will mark only the third time in his career that Orr has started as many as four consecutive games in the majors. He made five consecutive starts in April 2005 and again in April 2006.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Orr, who went 6-for-11 as the Nationals were swept by St. Louis in a three-game series. “I’ll do whatever I can.”

That could include time in the outfield. Orr moved to right field as part of a double switch during Saturday’s game, and Riggleman said he would like to find ways to use him in the outfield.

Extra bases

Riggleman and pitching coach Steve McCatty had a closed-door meeting with the rotation for about 20 minutes during batting practice. Riggleman said the session was designed to review the rotation’s progress and discuss certain issues. …

Cleanup hitter Adam Dunn took three walks, giving him 100 for the season. This is the sixth consecutive season in which Dunn has hit at least 35 homers and received at least 100 walks.

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