Yankees send Ventura to DodgersPosted: Thursday July 31, 2003 6:43 PM
Updated: Thursday July 31, 2003 9:44 PM
New York got outfielder Bubba Crosby and right-handed pitcher Scott Proctor for Ventura. The deal was announced shortly after the AL East-leading Yankees got All-Star third baseman Aaron Boone from Cincinnati.
The Dodgers are in the middle of the NL wild-card race despite their lack of offense. They had scored a total of five runs in a six-game span going into Thursday night's game at Philadelphia.
"Robin is an established veteran leader who knows what it's like to play in a pennant race and in the postseason," Dodgers general manager Dan Evans said. "He's a Gold Glove-caliber infielder whose offensive production should add a boost to our lineup."
Ventura, who turned 36 this month, was stuck in a prolonged slump and was hitting only .231 with no homers in July. Still a smooth fielder, he is batting .251 with nine home runs and 42 RBIs this season.
"If I had to get traded anywhere, I'm glad it's there," Ventura said. "I grew up in California and they're still in the race."
Dodgers manager Jim Tracy plans to use Ventura more at first base because Fred McGriff is out with a knee injury.
"We're getting one of the class people in the league that is a proven hitter," Tracy said. "He's a presence in our clubhouse. He knows what it takes to participate at this time of the season."
Ventura has not played first base this season, and has not started at the position since Sept. 2, 1996, according to the Elias Sports Bureau."That's fine, I've played there before," Ventura said. "I'll go and do anything they want."
Yankees manager Joe Torre said first base would be no problem for Ventura.
"He can play first base, he has good hands, he has good reactions," Torre said. "He's willing to play second, he's willing to play short, he's a great player to have around.
"He's a winner, that' the best thing I can tell you. He's got the ability to hit home runs even though he's gotten older. Even though the bottom line numbers don't show it, he can do a lot of things."
Adrian Beltre has been playing third base for the Dodgers. He is batting just .224 with eight homers and 40 RBIs. The 24-year-old Beltre hit .257 with 21 home runs and 75 RBIs last season.
"We're not giving up on Adrian Beltre -- let's make that clear," Tracy said.
Beltre refused to talk about the deal.
The Dodgers lost outfielder Brian Jordan to season-ending knee surgery.
Los Angeles, which entered Thursday night's game five games behind wild card-leading Philadelphia, was last in the NL in batting average and runs scored, but first in ERA.
"We desperately need more offense," Tracy said.
Crosby, 26, was batting a Pacific Coast League-leading .361 with 12 homers and 57 RBIs for Class AAA Las Vegas. He was 1-for-12 with the Dodgers.
"Maybe I'll get a call up in September and get a chance to wear the pinstripes," Crosby said.
Proctor, 28, was 5-4 with a 2.58 ERA in 41 relief appearances with Class AA Jacksonville and Class AAA Las Vegas.