Brewers look to strengthen 'pen by acquiring King from Nationals

Updated: September 5, 2007, 1:21 AM ET
Associated Press

MILWAUKEE -- Hoping to stabilize their struggling bullpen, the Milwaukee Brewers acquired left-hander Ray King from the Washington Nationals on Tuesday in exchange for a player to be named.

Ray King

King

Relief Pitcher
Washington Nationals

Profile

2007 Season Stats
GM W L BB K ERA
55 1 1 18 18 4.54

King was 1-1 with a 4.54 ERA in 55 appearances for the Nationals this season. The 33-year-old played for the Brewers from 2000-02, and is expected to join the team on Wednesday.

"It was a shock," King said in a conference call. "I watched the trade deadline come and go. Anytime you get a phone call from the general manager's secretary, it's not good."

Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said King would join Brian Shouse as a situational left-hander in the bullpen.

"Another veteran left-handed guy that can come in," Yost said of King. "We play teams that have pretty proficient left-handed hitting coming up. This gives us another option."

After giving up a three-run lead in the eighth inning of Monday's 9-7 loss to the Houston Astros, the Brewers have lost a major league-worst 15 games in which they have led by at least three runs.

Yost said he would rely on a trio of right-handers -- Francisco Cordero, Derrick Turnbow and Scott Linebrink -- in the final weeks of the pennant race.

"It's pretty much crunch time here," he said.

He said he might use Cordero, his closer, in the eighth inning the final three weeks.

"Are we at the point where I should start thinking about that every single day? I think so," Yost said. "Maybe I will push Coco until he just can't go any further."

Yost summoned Greg Aquino, who had not pitched in the majors since April, with two outs in the eighth inning Monday to face Hunter Pence, and the rookie tripled and eventually scored to cost the Brewers the game.

Yost had veteran right-hander Matt Wise in the bullpen, but opted to use Aquino. Wise has given up eight earned runs in seven innings since hitting Pedro Lopez in the face, breaking his left cheekbone, in a game on July 25. Yost said he did not consider using him.

"He still hasn't gotten back to the point where he was before that," Yost said. "It's very difficult when you come in and you know, he's having 25, 30 pitch innings. He's not ahead in the count. He's allowing a lot of base runners.

"I still trust him, but he needs to show me somewhere down the line here real quick that he can be productive like he was before," he said. "It's not like I don't trust him, but his outings from that point on have not been very productive."

Meanwhile, Milwaukee purchased the contract of catcher Mike Rivera from Triple-A Nashville, and transferred infielder Tony Graffanino to the 60-day disabled list. Backup catcher Damian Miller is day-to-day with a strained right calf.

The Brewers are in second place in the NL Central behind Chicago.

"It's a chance to go back to Milwaukee. They're a game-and-a-half out and compete to try and get in the playoffs," King said.

King, who played in the postseason in 2003 with Atlanta and 2004 with St. Louis, won't get a chance to play in October. The deadline for postseason rosters was Friday.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press