Royals send minor leaguer Hill to Mets

Updated: July 29, 2003, 9:32 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The Kansas City Royals got some bullpen help Monday by acquiring left-hander Graeme Lloyd from the New York Mets for minor league right-hander Jeremy Hill.


Lloyd, 35, was 1-2 with a 3.31 ERA in 36 appearances for New York this season. Six-foot-7 Lloyd was signed by the Mets as a free agent in January after he split last season with Montreal and Florida. He had already cleared his locker and left the Mets clubhouse when the trade was announced.

He joined the Royals in time for Tuesday's home game against the Chicago White Sox. To make room on KC's roster, infielder Gookie Dawkins was designated for assignment.

With the addition of Lloyd to the bullpen, Kansas City is carrying 13 pitchers and only three reserve position players.

The Royals, Lloyd's seventh major league team, will pay the remaining $220,219 of Lloyd's $650,000 base salary.

Jeremy Affeldt had been the only left-hander in the bullpen of the Royals, who lead the AL Central by four games. He was moved to a relief role last week after repeated struggles with blisters on his pitching hand.

Hill, 26, spent most of the season at Triple-A Omaha, going 1-3 with one save and a 7.81 ERA. Hill made one appearance with the Royals this year, pitching a scoreless inning April 29 at Boston. He also pitched for Double-A Wichita, giving up an unearned run in two innings.

Hill was selected by the Royals in the fifth round of the 1996 draft as a catcher and was converted into a pitcher following the 2000 season.

"This guy's a significant arm,'' Mets interim general manager Jim Duquette said. "I was surprised we were able to get him.''

Hill has a fastball that hits between 93 and 98 mph, and will join the Mets' Double-A affiliate in Binghamton to work on his mechanics out of the bullpen. He had 42 walks and 41 strikeouts in 40 1/3 minor league innings this year, Duquette said.

"I don't think this player was available a week or two ago,'' Duquette said. "But as the trade deadline neared, we were able to get him. When you look at our system, I feel we have some pretty good depth. But we needed a few more power arms.''

Duquette said New York might still try to "make a minor deal'' before Thursday's trade deadline, but added that right-hander Steve Trachsel -- the subject of a few trade rumors -- will likely remain with the Mets.

"We're not really interested in moving Trachsel,'' Duquette said. "His contract runs through the rest of this season and next. He's a guy we know can pitch in New York, and we need a guy like that.''

Taking Lloyd's place on the Mets' roster was left-hander Jaime Cerda, recalled from Triple-A Norfolk. Cerda, on is fourth stint with the Mets this season, was traveling to New York and was expected to be available for the team's game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press