August 1st, 2006


Maddux packs bags for Hollywood


The Associated Press
Chicago Cubs pitcher Greg Maddux tips his hat to the crowd as he leaves a game against the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh inning of baseball action Saturday. Maddux was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers Monday.

AP Baseball Writer

NEW YORK — Greg Maddux is headed to_Hollywood.
In the biggest deal on a busy day before baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline, the Chicago Cubs shipped Maddux to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Gold Glove infielder Cesar Izturis.
Most other stars stayed put Monday. Washington surprised plenty of people by holding onto Alfonso Soriano, Baltimore kept shortstop Miguel Tejada, and Oakland retained lefty Barry Zito.
A 327-game winner and four-time Cy Young Award winner, Maddux waived his no-trade clause and accepted the deal to Los Angeles. Chicago is also giving $2 million to the Dodgers as part of the swap.
Now, the Dodgers hope Maddux can help them go from worst to first in the wide-open NL West.
“He’s not what he was when he was winning Cy Young Awards, but we still think he has the ability to pitch and win games,” general manager Ned Colletti said. “He’s probably one of the smartest players I’ve ever been around. I think he’ll find a way.”
Maddux, who spent his first seven seasons with the Cubs, returned to Chicago before the 2004 season after 11 years with the Atlanta Braves. He got his 300th win and 3,000th strikeout with the Cubs.
Maddux started this season 5-0, but the 40-year-old right-hander has won only four games since and is 9-11 overall with a 4.69 ERA in 22 starts.
“I am very surprised to be honest with you,” Maddux said. “It came down to the last minute. I’m excited to be going to L.A., but at the same time sad about leaving Chicago. I need to try to get right with my new team and try to pitch well for them.”
Los Angeles, last in the tightly grouped NL West, also acquired shortstop Julio Lugo from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for minor league third baseman Joel Guzman and outfielder Sergio Pedroza
Earlier, the Cubs traded infielder Todd Walker and $350,000 to San Diego for minor league right-hander Jose Ceda.
Soriano, an All-Star left fielder, is batting .286 with 32 homers, 64 RBIs and 26 stolen bases in his first season with the Nationals after coming over in a trade with Texas last offseason.
“We felt the best deal we could make is no deal for the franchise,” general manager Jim Bowden said. “He wants to stay in D.C. and did not want to be traded.”
Soriano, who makes $10 million this year, can become a free agent after the season.
“I’m happy,” Soriano said. “It will be more easy to focus on playing every time because it passed. I was very excited they wanted to keep me here. ... I love my teammates, too. I think they were happy to see me walk in here.”
While Soriano stayed in Washington, there were 12 trades in all Monday, including four by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Teams can still make trades, but players must first pass through waivers.
After stellar setup man Duaner Sanchez dislocated his pitching shoulder in a taxi accident, the NL East-leading New York Mets quickly replenished their staff by acquiring Roberto Hernandez and Oliver Perez from Pittsburgh for outfielder Xavier Nady (see separate story).
Pittsburgh also sent right-hander Kip Wells to Texas for minor league pitcher Jesse Chavez; outfielder Craig Wilson to the New York Yankees for right-hander Shawn Chacon; and first baseman Sean Casey to Detroit for right-hander Brian Rogers.
On Sunday, the Yankees got right fielder Bobby Abreu and pitcher Cory Lidle from Philadelphia for four minor leaguers. They hope to get outfielders Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui back from the disabled list before the end of the season.
“I think we’re better equipped to run the rat race here in the final two months, but the competition is so fierce,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “Obviously, all of us try to put ourselves and our teams in a position to separate ourselves from the pack, but I’m not sure anybody did that.”
AL East-leading Boston, one game ahead of the Yankees, didn’t make any moves.
“We were asked over and over again for our young pitchers,” general manager Theo Epstein said. “As much as we desperately wanted to help our team, it would have been shortsighted to sacrifice our plan.”
Tejada was glad to remain with the Orioles.
“If I’m going to win, I want to win here,” said Tejada, who’s signed through 2009.
Texas acquired infielder-outfielder Matt Stairs from Kansas City for right-hander Joselo Diaz.
Cincinnati, continuing to remake its pitching staff, obtained left-hander Rheal Cormier from Philadelphia and right-hander Kyle Lohse from Minnesota. The Reds sent 23-year-old right-hander Justin Germano to the Phillies and 22-year-old right-hander Zach Ward to the Twins.
In other recent trades, the Reds obtained closer Eddie Guardado from Seattle and relievers Gary Majewski and Bill Bray from Washington.
“I would have loved to have this bullpen at the start of the season,” manager Jerry Narron said.
Atlanta dealt struggling pitcher Jorge Sosa to St. Louis for right-hander Rich Scalamandre.
AP Sports Writers Howard Fendrich, Mike Fitzpatrick, Rick Gano, Beth Harris, Janie McCauley and Howard Ulman contributed to this report.



Crunch has contract extended

SYRACUSE (AP) — The American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch and the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets have agreed to keep their affiliation with one another, officials from both hockey teams announced Monday.
The extension of the affiliation agreement will begin with the upcoming season and will be for a minimum of four years.
“We have enjoyed what we consider to be a successful and productive relationship with our partners in Columbus over the past six years,” Crunch president Howard Dolgon said. “We greatly embrace the continuation of our partnership.”
The Crunch has produced a .545 winning percentage in its six seasons as an affiliate of the Blue Jackets. In the six seasons prior to their agreement, the AHL franchise posted a .444 winning percentage. Last season, Syracuse set team records with 47 wins and 102 points before losing to Manitoba in the quarterfinals of the Calder Cup playoffs.
WINGS SIGN HASEK: The Detroit Red Wings took care of their muddled goaltending situation by signing 14-year veteran Dominik Hasek to a one-year contract.
The 41-year-old Hasek, who helped the Wings to their most recent Stanley Cup title in 2002, is returning to Detroit after an injury-plagued season with the Ottawa Senators.