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Return to sender

Dodgers reacquire Ismael Valdes from Cubs

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Latest: Thursday July 27, 2000 08:16 AM

  Ismael Valdes returns to Dodger Stadium, where he is 34-23 with a 2.50 ERA. David Seelig/Allsport

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Right-hander Ismael Valdes is returning to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Traded to the Chicago Cubs last winter along with second baseman Eric Young, Valdes was reacquired by the Dodgers on Wednesday along with cash considerations for two minor leaguers -- right-hander Jamie Arnold and outfielder Jorge Piedra.

"He pitched well in his last start," Dodgers general manager Kevin Malone said from Los Angeles. "We think he's a quality starter who's still young. He's a free agent after this year, which gives him incentive to pitch well.

"He thanked me for bringing him back, said he's excited about returning home to Los Angeles. He was just real excited, very thankful and appreciative, you could hear it in his voice. It pumped me up to hear him so excited."

Valdes, 26, was 2-4 with a 5.37 ERA in 12 starts for the Cubs this year after opening the season in the 15-day disabled list with tenderness in his pitching shoulder.

Valdes spent the first six years of his career with the Dodgers, going 61-54 with a 3.38 ERA in 176 games -- 150 of them starts.

"Rocket was a fan favorite here," Malone said, referring to Valdes by his nickname. "I think the fans will be happy to have him back.

"We think he can help us down the stretch. He knows how to win. He pitches well in this ballpark, he's comfortable in this environment. He'll keep us in games."

Arnold, 26, was 4-7 with a 5.07 ERA in 20 games, 13 of them starts, for Class AAA Albuquerque this year. He also appeared in two games with the Dodgers with no record and a 4.05 ERA.

Piedra, 21, was hitting .283 with six homers and 52 RBIs in 92 games with Class A Vero Beach.

Valdes and Young were sent to the Cubs on Dec. 12 in what the Dodgers acknowledged was a move to lower payroll. In return, Los Angeles received right-hander Terry Adams and minor league pitchers Chad Ricketts and Brian Stephenson in the deal.

Valdes, who is earning $5.75 million this year, is eligible for free agency after the season.

"We're focusing on winning this year," Malone said when asked if the Dodgers will try to sign Valdes to an extension. "We'll deal with that at the appropriate time. All our focus is on trying to do our best to win in 2000."

Malone said he was uncertain about when Valdes will pitch for the Dodgers.

"He was scheduled to pitch Friday in Chicago against the Giants," Malone said. "We've got Carlos Perez tonight and Eric Gagne tomorrow [at Colorado]. We'll go from there."

The Dodgers open a three-game series at Philadelphia on Friday night. Earlier Wednesday, the Phillies traded ace right-hander Curt Schilling to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who entered the day one game ahead of San Francisco and 2 1/2 games ahead of the Dodgers in the NL West race.

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