WASHINGTON -- Making clear they won't stand pat, the NL
East-leading Washington Nationals acquired second baseman
Junior Spivey from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for pitcher Tomo Ohka
on Friday, and claimed right-hander Ryan Drese off waivers.
The trade for Spivey, a 2002 NL All-Star who fills a hole left
by Jose Vidro's injury, hinged on the Nationals being able to
replace Ohka. Drese was designated for assignment Wednesday by the
"Our feeling is that Drese could do what Ohka was doing, and we
can solve our infield situation," Nationals general manager Jim
Bowden said. "Every game's important. This is a race where we all
see how close it is, and this makes us a better team today. It
allows people to be in their right positions on the team."
Spivey took the train to Washington from Philadelphia, where the
Brewers are playing, but he did not make it to RFK Stadium before
the start of the Nationals' game against Seattle.
Washington entered Friday on a seven-game winning streak and 1½
games ahead of Philadelphia in the tight NL East.
On a busy day, the Nationals also picked up right-handed
reliever Jacobo Seuqea off waivers from the Orioles and optioned him
to Double-A Harrisburg, while outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds announced
his retirement after 13 major league seasons.
Drese is expected to join Washington on Saturday, when another
roster move will be made -- probably sending career minor leaguer
Rick Short back to Triple-A New Orleans.
Spivey is batting .236 this season. He has a .272 career average
with 46 homers and 194 RBI in 429 games with Milwaukee and
Arizona, but he's hit .308 against left-handers.
Vidro is expected out until the All-Star break with a partially
torn tendon in his left ankle, and his backup, Jamey Carroll,
missed the last two games with a sprained ankle.
Ohka, who asked for a trade last month, went 4-3 with a 3.33 ERA
this season. He was fined after turning his back to Frank Robinson
when the Nationals' manager went to the mound to pull Ohka in the
fourth inning of his last start Saturday.
Ohka was slated to start Friday, and Sun-woo Kim was picked to
fill in against Seattle. Kim and Drese will get a shot at the fifth
slot in the rotation, Robinson said.
Drese, 29, was the Rangers' Opening Day starter this season, but
he went 4-6 with a 6.46 ERA. Last season, he went 14-10 with a 4.20
Drese and teammate Rod Barajas scuffled in the dugout during a
game May 24. Bowden said the Nationals looked into that and were
assured that Drese is "a good team guy."
"His velocity and stuff is very close, but he's getting hit
hard because he's not hitting his spots," Bowden said. "We don't
get Ryan Drese if he's not struggling."
Brewers manager Ned Yost said Ohka will start at Tampa Bay on
"Ohka will be a great addition to our pitching staff," Brewers
general manager Doug Melvin said in Philadelphia. "We expect him
to give us a proven starting pitcher to add to our rotation."
Ohka said he wished he had gotten a chance to pitch more
innings, and he didn't like that he spent time in the bullpen.
"I didn't want to waste my time," Ohka said through a
translator, Nationals strength coach Kazuhiko Tomooka.
Ohka is earning $2.75 million this season, Spivey $2,125,000,
and Drese $400,000. Drese is under contract for $1.75 million in
2006, and there's a club option for $3 million in 2007.
"It wasn't about dollars," Bowden said, "but it does save us
money on the bottom line."