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Tuesday, July 22
Updated: July 23, 5:47 PM ET
Veteran reliever Orosco returns to New York

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Jesse Orosco is returning to New York -- and a pennant race.

The New York Yankees acquired the 46-year-old left-hander in a trade with the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night for a player to be named.

"I don't know how much longer I'll be doing this,'' Orosco said outside the San Diego clubhouse during the Padres' game against St. Louis. "To have a chance to win another ring, it's too much to pass up.''

The AL East-leading Yankees, who got setup man Armando Benitez in a deal with the New York Mets last week, were looking for a second left-hander to join Chris Hammond in the bullpen.

They found their man in the oldest player in the majors, getting a pitcher still popular in New York for throwing his glove high in the air after clinching the 1986 World Series for the Mets.

"We look forward to Jesse Orosco coming back to New York and providing another choice in the bullpen for Joe Torre as he matches up in late-inning situations,'' Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.

Earlier in the day, the Yankees' main competition in the division, the Boston Red Sox, got lefty reliever Scott Sauerbeck in a trade with Pittsburgh. The Yankees also had been interested in Sauerbeck.

Torre is plenty familiar with the new arrival, who has pitched more games (1,229) than anyone else in history. When Orosco made his major league debut in 1979, his manager on the Mets was Torre.

Orosco said he was not certain when he'd complete his travel arrangements and join the Yankees.

This deal will not cost the Yankees a lot. They will pay just $111,475 to Orosco -- a prorated share of the $300,000 minimum -- with the last-place Padres paying the remainder of his $800,000 salary.

San Diego general manager Kevin Towers said before the game that he had a gentlemen's agreement with Orosco not to trade the 24-year veteran without his consent.

"I have mixed emotions,'' Orosco said. "It was a tough decision.

"Kevin gave some time to think about it. I finally got home for the first time in my career. But it was too good to pass up,'' he said.

Orosco has made his offseason home in Poway, a city just north of San Diego, for a number of years.

The deal was announced several hours after the Yankees' game against Toronto was rained out and during the first inning of the Padres' home game.

Orosco is 1-1 with a 7.56 ERA in 42 games this season, his first with the last-place Padres. He converted two of three save chances and has held left-handed batters to a .228 average (13-for-57).

Despite moving around a bunch, Orosco has not been in the postseason since 1997 with Baltimore.

He has played for the Mets (1979-87), Los Angeles (1988 and 2001-02), Cleveland (1989-91), Milwaukee (1992-94), Baltimore (1995-99), St. Louis (2000) and San Diego (2003). He has an 86-79 career record with 144 saves and a 3.13 ERA.

Orosco was reacquired by the Mets from Baltimore in December 1999 but never got to pitch for them. He was traded to St. Louis on March 18, 2000.

The Yankees cleared a roster spot by designating outfielder Curtis Pride for assignment.

Pride was 1-for-12 since being promoted from Triple-A Columbus on July 4. He homered in his Yankees' debut against Boston, then beat the Red Sox the next day with a hard groundball in the bottom of the ninth inning.

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