Yankees acquire C Jose Molina from Angels for minor league reliever

Updated: July 21, 2007, 11:00 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Looking to bolster their bench, the New York Yankees acquired catcher Jose Molina from the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night for minor league reliever Jeff Kennard.

Molina, a defensive specialist, was batting .228 with no homers and 10 RBIs in 123 at-bats for the AL West-leading Angels, who have a surplus of catchers.

Molina has been in the Angels' organization since 2001 and played on the World Series winning team in 2002.

"Really it's still a shock," Molina said after going 0-for-2 in the Angels' 5-2 loss at Minnesota on Saturday night. "It's hard sometimes to take it because you have been here for so many years. But the way I have to see it is it's a new opportunity."

Mike Napoli returned to their lineup Friday night after missing nearly three weeks with a sprained ankle. The team also has another catcher they like in 24-year-old Jeff Mathis.

"The game moves on," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's going to be a good opportunity for Jose to go to an organization that's timeless."

Kennard was 1-4 with a 2.73 ERA in 31 relief appearances at Double-A Trenton. The right-hander was selected in the 40th round of the 2000 draft.

"He's a guy who's been on our radar for a while," Scioscia said. "He's certainly a guy with a good arm who we're happy to get."

The Yankees, hoping to climb back into the AL East race, were seeking a better backup for All-Star catcher Jorge Posada. Wil Nieves began the day batting .138 with no home runs and six RBIs in 58 at-bats.

The deal comes 10 days before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Molina is one of three brothers who are all major league catchers. Bengie Molina plays for the San Francisco Giants, and Yadier Molina for the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Angels also made official the announcement that they recalled lefty Joe Saunders from Triple-A Salt Lake City. Saunders will start Sunday's game against Minnesota's Matt Garza.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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