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Boston trades Vazquez for Cora

CLEVELAND -- In a swap of utility infielders, the Cleveland Indians traded Alex Cora to the Boston Red Sox for Ramon Vazquez on Thursday.

Cora will join Boston in time for Thursday night's game at Baltimore. He hit .205 with a home run and eight RBIs in 49 games with Cleveland this season, making 22 starts at shortstop and 14 at second base.

Cora, 29, signed as a free agent with the Indians in the
offseason to provide a cushion for 23-year-old shortstop Jhonny
Peralta
.

Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said the above-average seasons that Peralta and second baseman Ronnie Belliard are having influenced the trade.

Peralta is batting .296 with nine homers and 31 RBI and Belliard is hitting .288 with eight home runs and 34 RBI. Both
have played solid in the field.

"It's less a comment on Alex Cora than it is a positive statement about those two," Shapiro said.

Cora spent the previous seven seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers and is a career .243 hitter with 28 homers and 181s RBI.

The trade gives the Indians some salary flexibility, Shapiro
said. Cora is making $1.3 million this year and will get $1.4
million in 2006.

"I didn't feel like we were going to keep up our end of the
bargain of playing time that we had communicated to him," Shapiro
said. "I didn't feel like we could and still put the best team on
the field."

Boston had sent Vazquez to Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday. He will report to the Indians' Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo.

Vazquez appeared in 27 games at second base, third base and shortstop for the Red Sox, hitting .197 with four RBI.

"He's played very sporadically," Shapiro said. "He's a guy that we have liked for two years now and have made multiple attempts trying to acquire him."

Vazquez, 28, was acquired by the Red Sox in the offseason along with outfielder Jay Payton and pitcher David Pauley from San Diego for outfielder Dave Roberts. Vazquez is a career .259 hitter in five major league seasons.

The Indians called up left-hander Brian Tallet to take Cora's roster spot.

"We're not going to go with 13 pitchers for very long, at most
four games," he said. "We really felt the need going into Yankee
Stadium to have another pitcher."

Tallet was 6-2 with a 3.65 ERA in 14 starts for Buffalo this season. He has limited opponents to a .237 batting average.