Work in Sports
Cleveland gets three pitchers, Segui, Cordero
BALTIMORE (AP) -- Desperately trying to get back into the pennant chase, the Cleveland Indians made three deals Friday that got them three new pitchers and two new hitters.
First, the Indians obtained closer Bob Wickman and starters Steve Woodard and Jason Bere from the Milwaukee Brewers for slugger Richie Sexson, rookie right-handers Paul Rigdon and Kane Davis and a player to be named.
"Basically, Segui can play first base, left field, right field, and Wil can play left field and DH," Indians manager Charlie Manuel said. "It's important we get Manny Ramirez back in right field playing defense."
The deals allow the Indians to move around first baseman Jim Thome.
"I'm not going to make a DH out of Thome," Manuel said. "He'll play some DH, he'll play some left field and possibly play some right field."
Indians general manager John Hart announced the Milwaukee deal during a news conference at Jacobs Field. Cleveland's game at Baltimore was rained out later Friday night.
With injuries ravaging its pitching staff, Cleveland, which has won five consecutive AL Central titles, has struggled all season and is in second place, 10 games behind division-leading Chicago and 2 1/2 games behind Oakland in the AL wild-card race.
Woodard and Bere will immediately move into the Indians starting rotation, Hart said, replacing Charles Nagy and Jaret Wright, who are both on the disabled list and may not be back until September.
"To be able in one trade to replenish 30 percent of your pitching staff is a good deal for us -- not only for the 2000 season but with pieces that are going to be able to play for us beyond 2000," said Hart, who came close to getting Curt Schilling from Philadelphia last week before the Phillies traded their ace to Arizona.
Bere will start Saturday in Baltimore, Hart said.
Manuel was delighted to add Cordero and Segui to a lineup that ranks seventh in the AL in runs scored.
"These are professional hitters," Manuel said. "To me, our ballclub got better -- especially offensively."
Ledee was shocked to hear that he was traded for a second time this season.
"When you're not established in the big leagues, it's going to happen. It's happened to me two times in less than a month," he said. "When you're getting used to your players and your friends, you're gone. You have to move on."
Wickman, selected to the NL All-Star team earlier this month, has 16 saves. The 31-year-old, who is signed through 2001, is 2-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 43 games, all in relief.
"He can be a setup man or a closer," Manuel said. "Right now, he's going to be our closer."
Wickman, a Wisconsin native, was disappointed by the deal.
"The trade hurts, that's all I can say," he said.
It might also hurt the fans who planned to come to County Stadium on Saturday to receive their free Bob Wickman posters.
Bere, a 29-year-old right-hander who is eligible for free agency after the season, is 6-7 with a 4.93 ERA in 20 starts. Woodard, a 25-year-old right-hander, is 1-7 with a 5.96 ERA in 11 starts and 16 relief appearances.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to get to Cleveland and have a chance to possibly get to the postseason," Bere said.
Sexson, 25, became a regular starter in 1999 and hit .255 with 31 homers and 116 RBIs. But the 6-foot-8 Sexson, who is more comfortable playing first base than the outfield, slumped this season to a .256 average with 16 homers and 44 RBIs. He has 96 strikeouts in 324 at-bats.
"It is no secret that we have been trying to acquire another bat for the middle of our lineup," Brewers GM Dean Taylor said. "Anytime you have the ability to acquire a player coming off a 31-home run, 116-RBI season last year, you certainly have to be delighted with that."
Davis, 25, made his major league debut last month and is 0-3 with a 14.73 ERA in two starts and three relief appearances covering 11 innings.
Rigdon, 24, was sent to the minors when Davis was brought up on June 28. Rigdon was 1-1 with a 7.64 ERA in five games for the Indians, who had brought him up from Class AAA Buffalo on May 19.
They were just two of six pitchers who to make their major league debuts this season for the Indians, who already have set a franchise record by using 27 pitchers.
"This gives our club an opportunity to right itself and to play meaningful games in August and September which is what we promise our fans every year," Hart said. "We've had tremendous injuries but this is still a team we all believe in."
Cordero, 28, was hitting .282 with 16 home runs and 51 RBIs in 89 games as the Pirates starting left fielder. He played last year in Cleveland, hitting .299 with eight homers and 32 RBIs in a season shortened by a broken left wrist.