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Urbina on the move

Marlins beef up bullpen by adding AL saves leader

Posted: Friday July 11, 2003 8:06 PM
Updated: Friday July 11, 2003 11:56 PM
  Ugueth Urbina Ugueth Urbina led the American League with 26 saves despite having just an 0-4 record and a 4.19 ERA this season. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- The Texas Rangers traded AL saves leader Ugueth Urbina to the Florida Marlins for three minor leaguers Friday.

Florida gave up first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2000 amateur draft, outfielder Will Smith and left-handed pitcher Ryan Snare, the only one of the three on the Marlins' 40-man roster. All three are playing in Double-A.

"Ugie came as advertised and did a great job for us," Rangers general manager John Hart said. "We're bringing back good players. It dovetails with the direction that we are going. That's going with youth and trying to acquire as many young players as we can."

Urbina bolsters the Marlins' bullpen as they try to make a surprising push for the NL wild card. Florida entered the day two games above .500 and 4 1/2 games out of a wild-card spot.

"To get a guy like Urbina when everybody's shooting for him -- Yankees, Red Sox -- that shows me something," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said following Florida's 5-4 comeback win in Montreal.

The Marlins plan to use the right-hander as a setup man for closer Braden Looper, who leads the team with 16 saves.

"We were looking to fortify the back end of the bullpen," general manager Larry Beinfest said. "We wanted to bring in a guy who would help us now. A high-impact guy."

Urbina, a two-time All-Star, has 200 career saves.

"He's a winner and very intense, and he takes the ball any day, and any time," Beinfest said. "We gave up some quality. We wanted to win now. We didn't just want to strengthen the back end of the bullpen, we wanted to fortify it."

Texas, despite winning five of its previous six, went into Friday night's game against Kansas City in last place in the AL West, 18 games back. This is the third trade the Rangers have made this season, all in which they gave up veterans for younger players.

Marlins 5, Expos 4
MONTREAL (AP) -- Todd Hollandsworth hit a tying homer and Juan Encarnacion singled in the go-ahead run later in the ninth inning to lead the Florida Marlins to a 5-4 win over the Montreal Expos on Friday night.

Trailing 4-3, Florida tied it on Hollandsworth's pinch-hit homer off closer Rocky Biddle (3-4) to lead off the ninth.

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    The Rangers will pick up a portion of Urbina's contract. The closer signed a one-year deal for $4 million and another $500,000 deferred during the offseason after saving 40 games for Boston last season.

    Urbina leads the AL with 26 saves in 30 chances. He earned his 200th career save Wednesday in his last appearance for Texas, his eighth straight save after blowing three of four before that.

    Urbina (0-4) has allowed 10 earned runs over 16 1/3 innings his last 17 games, raising his ERA from 2.82 to 4.19.

    Hart said several teams were interested in Urbina, but said of "all of the potential deals, this one clearly was the best one."

    The Rangers' clubhouse was already closed before their game, and Urbina wasn't available for comment.

    "Ugie was affordable, Ugie was successful and helped our ballclub by providing a certain toughness that I'm sure is going to translate down a little bit in our bullpen," Hart said. "Obviously, he helped us acquire some talented players."

    The Rangers traded outfielders Ruben Sierra and Carl Everett earlier this season.

    Sierra was traded to the New York Yankees for a minor leaguer. Everett was dealt to the Chicago White Sox, and the Rangers will get to pick two or three prospects from a pool of players.

    Texas also tried to trade outfielder Juan Gonzalez, but the two-time AL MVP used his no-trade clause to block the deal that would have sent him to Montreal in return for two or three prospects.

    Adrian Gonzalez, who had right wrist surgery during the offseason, batted .307 in 36 games for Double-A Carolina after hitting .261 in 39 games with Triple-A Albuquerque to start this season.

    "In Adrian, we thought we were dealing in an area of strength, but we wanted to do something now," Beinfest said.

    Smith was hitting .293 in 34 games at Carolina, and has batted .299 in four minor league seasons since the Marlins drafted him in the sixth round in 2000.

    Snare was drafted by Cincinnati in the second round in 2000, but was traded to Florida last July. In 18 starts at Carolina this season, he was 5-4 with a 3.67 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 103 innings.

    The Rangers activated left-hander Aaron Fultz from the 15-day disabled list to take Urbina's roster spot. Fultz (1-1, 3.63 ERA) had been on the disabled list with a bruised left shoulder after slamming into the outfield while shagging balls during batting practice June 26.

    Right-hander Francisco Cordero (3-6, 3.40 ERA) will take over the closer role for the Rangers, having thrown 6 2-3 scoreless innings his last six games primarily as a setup man for Urbina. Cordero has given up just two earned runs in 14 innings over his last 12 games.

    "I'd rather stay away from the closer-by-committee if I can," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "We have a strong candidate in Coco, but we will see what each situation brings."

     
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