Suppan joins rotation; Lyon returns to Red Sox

Updated: July 31, 2003, 5:44 PM ET
Associated Press

Thurs., July 31
Being traded is a wakeup experience. You're shaken from whatever comfort zone you were in with your team and then you get the call that you've been traded. I was dealt from the Cleveland Indians to the Toronto Blue Jays in 1991 and it was a major event in my career. It may look easy from afar, but being traded is quite difficult for several reasons.

First, you go through the feeling that your former team doesn't want you anymore. This is hard for a player because you're being separated from guys you've played with for some time and you've bonded with. It's not easy to let go of the allegiances that you've made during your time with a team. A baseball team is your family and you have to trade one in for another.

Second, you have to get used to your new role. I was lucky, as a starting pitcher my role didn't change, but for some it can change quite a bit. There are some pitchers who will be moved to the bullpen and some hitters who will be moved up in the lineup. That's a difficult position to be placed in because all of a sudden your responsibilities change immensely.

Third, without warning your personal and professional lives come crashing together. If a player has a family, they must decide whether if everyone is moving or just the player. Then you must decide where to move, too. Some players just rent a hotel for the rest of the season until they know for sure where they want to live. It's extremely burdensome to have to start thinking about moving while you're trying to concentrate on winning games.

Finally, you have to start bonding with guys who you were attempting to defeat a few days before. You have to find your spot in the clubhouse and try to make friends and incorporate yourself into the team dynamic without stepping on any toes. If you're traded during the offseason, you have the chance to see what the dynamics of individual players personalities are, but not when you're traded in midseason.

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox obtained right-hander Jeff Suppan from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday, adding a solid starter to a rebuilt pitching staff just before the trade deadline.

The Red Sox gave up minor league second baseman Freddy Sanchez, one of their top prospects, who is hitting .341 for Pawtucket of the International League.

Suppan (10-7) joined a staff that added four other NL pitchers in the last two months -- relievers Byung-Hyun Kim, Todd Jones, Scott Sauerbeck and Scott Williamson.

As part of the deal, right-handers Brandon Lyon and Anastacio Martinez return to Boston, and left-hander Mike Gonzalez goes back to Pittsburgh.

On July 22, the Red Sox obtained Sauerbeck and Gonzalez for Lyon and Martinez, but the Pirates then placed Lyon on the 15-day disabled list with an injured elbow.

The trade for Suppan came just before the 4 p.m. ET deadline and one day after Boston's fifth starter, Ramiro Mendoza, failed to get out of the fifth inning for his fifth consecutive start.

Suppan, 28, began his career in the Red Sox organization in 1993 and pitched 43 games for Boston from 1995-1997. He spent most of 1998 with Arizona then went to Kansas City late that season. He stayed there through last season.

He joined Pittsburgh as a free agent after going 9-16 with a 5.32 ERA for the Royals last year.

Suppan entered this season with a 49-64 record and 5.03 ERA, but will join Boston in the midst of perhaps the hottest stretch of his career.

On Monday, he beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-0 for his fifth career shutout. That gave him five wins in his last five decisions. He allowed seven hits, one walk and struck out five as he matched a career-high with 10 wins.

Sanchez, one of the Red Sox's most coveted prospects, was leading the International League in batting with a .384 average when Boston called him up on May 30. He was just 8-for-34 (.235) in 20 games before returning to Pawtucket on July 18.

"If you want somebody you need and somebody who you feel can help you, someone who has major league time and experience, you've got to give somebody of value to get him," Pawtucket manager Buddy Bailey said.

Since returning to Triple A, Sanchez was 11-for-53 (.208) in 13 games. He missed Pawtucket's last two games with tendinitis in his foot.

"Boston's the organization I came up with, so it's pretty sad for me right now. They've done everything right for me and always have looked out for my career," Sanchez said. "But they did what they had to do. They had to go out and get a quality starting pitcher."


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press

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