Yankees get 27-year-old right-hander from Rockies

Updated: July 29, 2005, 12:31 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees acquired pitcher Shawn Chacon from the Colorado Rockies for a pair of minor-leaguers on Thursday night, filling the opening in their injury-ravaged rotation.

Shawn Chacon
Starting Pitcher
Colorado Rockies
13 1 7 36 39 4.09

In exchange for Chacon, a 27-year-old right-hander, the Rockies get Ramon Ramirez and Edwardo Sierra.

"Saturday we have a starter now. It's as simple as that," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "Our team is working hard on the field. We're working hard in the front office to be in a position to improve the club. It seems like we've been plugging holes on the run the last few weeks at an unusual pace."

Chacon was an All-Star for the Rockies in 2003, when he had 11 wins at the All-Star break. But he didn't get another victory and finished 11-8 with a 4.60 ERA.

Colorado moved him to the bullpen the following year and while he had 35 saves, he also had nine blown saves to go along with a 1-9 record and a 7.11 ERA. He is 1-7 with a 4.09 ERA this year in 12 starts and one relief appearance.

"I pitched one inning in Yankee Stadium last year and it was an unbelievable experience as a visitor," Chacon said at Coors Field in Denver. "I can only imagine what it's like to have that as your home park. The atmosphere there is a little different from here. That brings up everybody's level of play. All that history, the electricity in the crowd, and I think everybody there tries to live up to that. You put on that uniform and it is all about winning."

Chacon has not won since beating the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 23 in his third start of the season. He strained a hamstring running the bases May 26 and was on the disabled list from June 3 to July 6 because of the injury.

"He told me he feels physically fine," Cashman said. "We don't think there's any issue."

Chacon, who was born in Alaska, makes $2.35 million and is eligible for free agency after the 2006 season. His last outing was Sunday at Pittsburgh.

"It's frustrating losing. The record is frustrating for me, but when I look back and think about it, I know that I did my job and that was to keep us in ballgames," he said. "This is an opportunity for me, I just have to go out and grab it. I am not going to have a better chance at this point in my career to go to the playoffs and be in a World Series. So I really have a chance to do something special."

The Yankees were in desperate need of pitching help after Kevin Brown went on the disabled list for the 14th time in his career. The pitcher will go to California to be examined by back expert Dr. Robert Watkins.

Brown has a lumbar strain, according to the Yankees. Watkins operated on Brown in June 2002 to repair a disc in the nerve canal of the pitcher's lower back, and the Yankees are unsure whether Brown will be sidelined for the rest of the season.

"Hopefully in the next 24, 48 hours we'll have more of a clue to that," Yankees manager Joe Torre said before New York beat Minnesota 6-3. "Hopefully that's not the case because I know that's certainly not what he wants, and it's certainly not what we want or need. But, as I say, his physical well being is No. 1 here. I really -- I don't know what the answer is. I have to really get the doctors to tell me."

Brown, 40, is 4-7 with a 6.50 ERA in 13 starts this season. The five-time All-Star was on the DL from April 3-17 and June 18-July 18 with a strained back, then returned this month without a rehab start and allowed 13 runs in 7 2/3 innings during starts at Texas and the Los Angeles Angels. He was examined by Dr. Yechiel Kleen in Colorado, who spoke this week with Yankees physician Dr. Stuart Hershon.

"He's bothered by this whole thing because first off, he obviously wants to help here," Torre said. "But secondly, he's not well at this point in time."

Brown has been on the DL 10 times since December 1998, when he was given a $105 million, seven-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who traded him to the Yankees in December 2002. He was 41-19 in his first three years after signing the first $100 million deal in baseball history but has gone 31-26 since.

New York made the roster move retroactive to July 24, the day after Brown's last appearance. The Yankees did not immediately fill the roster spot, debating whether to bring up a pitcher or a position player.

Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre said if New York doesn't acquire a starter, a string of relievers could be used Saturday against the Angels.

"We'll probably, if we have to, we'll treat it like a spring training game," he said. "You try to pitch two or three guys two or three innings each unless something happens by Saturday."

With Brown sidelined along with Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright and Chien-Ming Wang, who all have shoulder injuries, New York has brought up Aaron Small and acquired Al Leiter to join Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina in the rotation. Hideo Nomo, signed to a minor-league contract this week, needs work and won't be available this weekend, Torre said.

Pavano made his first injury rehabilitation start Wednesday and will make at least one more.

"He wants to get back here like everybody does when they go to Tampa for a period of time and have to deal 95, 100 [degrees] every day," Torre said.

Wright, out since April, is scheduled to make his first rehab start Saturday. Outfielder Ruben Sierra, who has a strained left hamstring, is likely to start a rehab assignment this weekend. The earliest he could be activated is Wednesday.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press