Twins get RHP Rauch from D-backs
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins fans have been clamoring for years for their team to make a big move to help them make a postseason run.
They don't come any bigger than Jon Rauch.
The Twins acquired the 6-foot-11 Rauch, the tallest player in baseball history, from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday to help their beleaguered bullpen.
The 30-year-old Rauch went 2-2 with a 4.14 ERA in 54-plus innings for Arizona. He walked 17 and struck out 35 in 58 games this season.
"Whatever it takes to win ballgames, we'll figure out where he fits and go from there," manager Ron Gardenhire said before the Twins played Texas. "He's a good arm. A veteran, knows how to pitch, all those things."
The Twins started the day 4½ games behind first-place Detroit in the AL Central. They agreed to send the Diamondbacks a player to be named.
The Twins agreed to terms with reliever Ron Mahay, who was cut by the Royals earlier this week, and put third baseman Joe Crede on the disabled list with a back injury. Mahay went 1-1 with a 4.79 ERA in 41 games for Kansas City and will be another veteran presence that Gardenhire has been craving.
General manager Bill Smith has been criticized for not making enough trades to supplement a talented core. But he has been more active this year, acquiring shortstop Orlando Cabrera, starter Carl Pavano and now Rauch to address weaknesses.
"They're trying," designated hitter Jason Kubel said of the front office. "They're doing their part. Now we have to do our part."
Rauch's 305 appearances since the start of 2006 are the most in the majors. His career ERA is 3.87, beginning in 2002 with the Chicago White Sox.
Right-handers Philip Humber and Armando Gabino were sent to Triple-A Rochester to make room on the roster. The Twins announced they will recall catcher Jose Morales before the game Saturday against Texas.
Crede has not played in six games because of the sore back. He received a pain-killing shot earlier this week and will get another one before coming back, Gardenhire said.
Gardenhire pleaded for relief help before the trade deadline, but Smith wasn't able to accommodate him. So the manager has had to use unproven youngsters like Jeff Manship, Bobby Keppel and Anthony Swarzak in a variety of roles.
"You don't want to continue to have to come in with young starters from Triple-A out of the bullpen," Gardenhire said.
Rauch was scheduled to be in uniform for Saturday's game. He makes the move from a team that was 20 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West to a team that hopes to make a run at its fifth AL Central title since 2002.
"It's definitely a good opportunity to get back with a team that's in a playoff race after things didn't go so well in Arizona this year," Rauch said. "I'm looking for a fresh beginning and a new start with a different organization."
He will likely be here next season as well because the Diamondbacks exercised a $2.9 million option for 2010 on his contract last October.
He was 4-2 with 17 saves and a 2.98 ERA in 48 appearances with Washington when the Nationals traded him to Arizona in 2008. After a solid start in the desert, Rauch had three losses in an eight-day stretch that helped kill the Diamondbacks' hopes in the NL West.
This year, Rauch got off to a poor start and had a 9.31 ERA after one month. The usually forgiving fans at Chase Field booed him every time he entered a game. He improved in midseason, surrendering four runs in 20 outings before giving up a three-run homer to San Francisco's Travis Ishikawa in his last appearance.
"Given how the first half of his career went here in Arizona, versus the last half, I'm very happy for him in how he turned it around," Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said.
Rauch wore No. 57 with the Diamondbacks and was initially going to wear that number with the Twins. But that was the same number Johan Santana wore here, so Rauch switched to No. 60.
"It didn't treat me very well in Arizona," Rauch said. "And I didn't think it was fair for Johan and the things that he did for that organization when he was there. So I just wanted a different number."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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