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Sunday, August 18
Mariners trade two minor-leaguers for Valdes

Associated Press

SEATTLE -- The AL West-leading Seattle Mariners, looking for another starting pitcher for the stretch run, acquired right-hander Ismael Valdes in a trade with the Texas Rangers on Sunday.

Ismael Valdes

The Mariners gave up a pair of minor leaguers, infielder Jermaine Clark and left-hander Derrick Van Dusen.

The deal was announced during the seventh inning of the Mariners' 5-2 win over the New York Yankees.

"I don't think you see a sad face on me,'' Valdes said in Texas, before the last-place Rangers played Toronto. "I'm excited about this. It's tough to leave my teammates. I've made good friends here. But they understand I have a chance to go and win a ring and for that I'm excited. That's the ultimate for every ballplayer.''

Valdes will go right into the Mariners' rotation as their No. 4 starter, pitching Wednesday night at Detroit in place of John Halama.

Valdes, who turns 29 on Wednesday, was 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA in 23 starts for the Rangers.

To make room for Valdes, Halama was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma. The left-hander, who lost to the Yankees 9-3 Friday night, will be brought back Sept. 1 when rosters are expanded.

The Mariners also announced they have sent infielder Luis Ugueto to Tacoma on a rehabilitation assignment. He has been on the disabled list since Aug. 8 with a sprained left wrist.

"We think having another veteran in our starting rotation will help us down the stretch,'' general manager Pat Gillick said. "Our pitching is our strength and adding Ismael gives us even greater depth in our pitching staff. He's an experienced pitcher who has been to the postseason before.''

Valdes is 2-1 with a 2.55 ERA in five starts this season against AL West contenders Anaheim and Oakland.

"He knows how to pitch and compete well,'' manager Lou Piniella said. "He'll give us some depth and some experience and hopefully will come here and throw the ball well. According to reports that we have, he's been throwing the ball well over there in Texas. He should help us.''

Valdes has a career record of 78-83 with a 3.73 ERA in 247 games, including 220 starts, with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Anaheim and Texas.

"The last time I was traded, it was from the Cubs to the Dodgers. The last time I didn't know. This time it doesn't shock me,'' Valdes said.

Valdes was signed by the Rangers to a $2.5 million contract as a free agent in January.

"Seattle is in a battle with two other clubs there. At the trading deadline, they were talking about pitching with several teams,'' Texas general manager John Hart said. "Then they were talking about pitching over the weekend. We were finally able to put together a deal Saturday night.''

"I was surprised he cleared waivers and I was surprised there wasn't more interest in him,'' he said.

Valdes can become a free agent after this season and would consider returning to the Rangers.

"I'd love to come back. You never know. This is close to home (Mexico). But I hear that they're going young (pitching) next season so I don't know. There's always a chance,'' he said.

Said Hart: That is a possibility because of the way he's pitched.''

The Mariners have been interested in him in a long time, Piniella said.

"When he was with the Dodgers (from 1994-99), he was a kid you could project to the top of the rotation, with that type stuff,'' Piniella said. "For whatever reason, it hasn't happened. But the games he's pitched against us, he's pitched well. He's got a good assortment of pitches. He should come in here and do a nice job for us.''

Clark, the Mariners' fifth-round selection in the 1997 June draft, was hitting .266 with six homers at Triple-A Tacoma.

Van Dusen, Seattle's fifth-round pick in the 2000 June draft, was 7-6 with a 3.10 ERA in 20 starts at Class A San Bernardino.

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