Dodgers trade LH reliever Tom Martin to Braves

Updated: August 2, 2004, 2:27 PM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- The Los Angeles Dodgers sent left-handed reliever Tom Martin and cash to the Atlanta Braves for a minor league pitcher Saturday in a trade between NL division leaders.

The deal was announced only a few minutes before the 4 p.m. EDT deadline for trades without waivers.

Martin was 0-1 with one save and a 4.13 ERA in 47 games this season. He pitched in career-best 80 games last season and allowed only 11.9 percent of inherited runners to score, the best rate in the majors.

"We like what he did last year a lot and so did our scouts," Atlanta general manager John Schuerholz said. "We think he can help us."

Martin also has pitched for Houston, Cleveland, the New York Mets and Tampa Bay.

"If there was going to be a scenario where I was traded, this was a good one," Martin said in a conference call from San Diego, where the Dodgers played the Padres later Saturday.

"It's not easy facing the Braves. Now I'm on the other side of the fence."

The Dodgers, who began play Saturday three games ahead of the Padres in the NL West, were busy in the hours before the trade deadline. On Friday, they traded catcher Paul Lo Duca, reliever Guillermo Mota and outfielder Juan Encarnacion to the Florida Marlins for pitcher Brad Penny, first baseman Hee Seop Choi and minor league left-hander Bill Murphy.

Earlier Saturday, they acquired Gold Glove center fielder Steve Finley and catcher Brent Mayne from the Arizona Diamondbacks for three minor leagues. That allowed Los Angeles to send outfielder Dave Roberts to the Boston Red Sox for minor league outfielder Henri Stanley.

"The Dodgers are putting all kinds of pieces together there real quick," said Atlanta manager Bobby Cox, whose Braves lead the NL East. "Believe me, they know what they're doing."

Martin admittedly has struggled with his mechanics this season, but he said the past couple of weeks have been better.

"I think I've turned the corner," he said. "I've still got the same stuff."

He expects to arrive in Atlanta in time for Sunday's game against the New York Mets, which starts at 1 p.m. EDT.

The Dodgers received lefty Matt Merricks in exchange for Martin. Merricks began this season at Double-A Greenville and was later sent to Class A Myrtle Beach, where he went 5-3 with a 3.31 ERA.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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