Mets acquire Dejean to bolster bullpen

Updated: July 19, 2004, 11:16 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Hoping to bolster their bullpen, the New York Mets traded outfielder Karim Garcia to the Baltimore Orioles for reliever Mike DeJean on Monday.

DeJean was 0-5 with a 6.13 ERA in 37 games for the Orioles. After a poor start, he compiled a 4.05 ERA in June and July.

Karim Garcia
Right Field
New York Mets
Profile
2004 SEASON STATISTICS
GM HR RBI R SB AVG
62 7 22 24 3 .234

"Mike will bring experience and depth to our bullpen," Mets general manager Jim Duquette said. "He has had success in the National League and has the savvy of pitching well in close games."

The Mets were 46-45 and two games behind Philadelphia and Atlanta going into Monday night's game against Florida. The 33-year-old right-hander will join his new team Tuesday.

"I'm excited to come to New York and be in the middle of a pennant race," DeJean said. "I played for (hitting coach) Don Baylor in Colorado and know a lot of the guys in the clubhouse. I can't wait to get there."

Duquette said DeJean has had trouble with the command of his fastball this season, but the Mets think pitching coach Rick Peterson can help. Peterson has guided New York's staff to a 3.70 ERA, tied with the Cubs for the best in the majors.

Mike DeJean
Relief Pitcher
Baltimore Orioles
Profile
2004 SEASON STATISTICS
GM W L Sv K ERA
37 0 5 0 36 6.13

DeJean threw a season-high 2 2/3 scoreless innings Sunday, striking out four against Tampa Bay.

"He's been a closer before and he's got good stuff," Mets manager Art Howe said. "If he gets back to the way he's shown he can pitch, it would be a huge plus for us."

DeJean signed with the Orioles as a free agent in the offseason. He is 24-29 with 52 saves and a 4.40 ERA in 480 major league games with the Orioles, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Colorado.

"I know he was happy to get out of the American League. We think a change of scenery will be worthwhile for him," Duquette said before the Mets began a two-game series against the Marlins.

Garcia, 28, hit .234 with seven home runs and 22 RBI in 62 games with the Mets this year. He made 44 starts in right field.

"He is going to be playing right field," Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. "With Jerry [Hairston] in the outfield, we're playing guys out of position. I see him out there right now against right-handers and we'll see how he does against left-handers."

Hairston, a second baseman, has seen time in the outfield since Jay Gibbons went on the DL June 29 with a strained left hip flexor. Hairston has slumped of late at the plate, batting .167 his last nine games.

Garcia was activated from the disabled list on July 9 after missing 2½ weeks with tendinitis in his left wrist. He became expendable when the Mets acquired Richard Hidalgo in a trade with Houston last month. Furthermore, Eric Valent emerged as a viable left-handed bat off the bench who could also play the outfield and first base, reducing Garcia's role even more.

In parts of 10 seasons, Garcia has batted .242 with 63 home runs and 201 RBI with the Mets, Cleveland, the New York Yankees and Baltimore.

In another move, the Mets put right-handed reliever Jose Parra on the 15-day disabled list with a right hip flexor strain, clearing space on the roster for Scott Erickson.

Erickson was set to start Monday night, his first major league appearance since Aug. 31, 2002, with Baltimore. He was scheduled to make his first career NL start for the Mets on April 8 in Atlanta, but strained his right hamstring while warming up in the bullpen.

Erickson pitched in the minors while rehabilitating his injury and excelled in his last three starts for Triple-A Norfolk. The right-hander went 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA, throwing 21 innings.

A pleasant surprise for the Mets since coming up from the minors, Parra is 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA in 13 games. He pitched very well before getting roughed up in his last outing Saturday against Philadelphia.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press