Yankees trade RHP Tyler Clippard to Nationals for reliever Jonathan Albaladejo

Updated: December 5, 2007, 10:29 PM ET
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Washington Nationals completed their trade for right-hander Tyler Clippard, getting him from the New York Yankees for Jonathan Albaladejo on Wednesday after both players cleared physicals.

The deal was agreed to late Monday, but the Nationals wanted to give Clippard an enhanced MRI exam of his elbow and shoulder to make sure there was not structural problem behind his demotion to the minor leagues last year. Albaladejo also passed a physical, Nationals general manager Jim Bowden said.

"We both did our homework just to make sure there wasn't an issue," he said. "Our reports were clear that we thought it was a mechanical problem, but to be safe we flew him (Clippard) into Washington, D.C. ... He's 100 percent clean."

Also Wednesday, Washington released lefties Billy Traber and Justin Jones.

Bowden said Jones, who was 11-8 with a 3.72 ERA in Class A and Double-A last year, blew out his knee playing basketball and would have missed the 2008 season anyway.

"He really came a long way. We're very proud of what he accomplished," Bowden said. "Given the circumstances, we wanted to fill our roster with a healthy player."

The 22-year-old Clippard beat the New York Mets 6-2 at Shea Stadium in his major league debut on national television, allowing three hits over six innings. He went 3-1 with a 6.33 ERA for the Yankees in all and was sent back down to the minors in June.

The 25-year-old Albaladejo was 1-1 with a 1.88 ERA in 14 relief appearances for Washington this season. The rookie struck out 12 and walked two in 14 1-3 innings. He also went 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 15 games at Triple-A Columbus.

"He's a big, strong, imposing guy. Six-foot-5," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "If he replicates what he did last season, then he will be an interesting character for us."

Clippard became expendable when several other young pitchers emerged for New York, including Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy. Bowden said he would have a chance to make the major league club out of spring training.

Cashman is still trying to re-sign reliever Luis Vizcaino. Cashman also said Steven White, Alan Horne and Jeffrey Marquez could be given chances to make the major league team as relievers next year.

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AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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