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MLB Reaches Trade Deadline


The Atlanta Braves made the biggest trade on deadline day they boosted their lineup with B.J. Surhoff. The St. Louis Cardinals made one with ominous overtones: Worried about Mark McGwire's health, they got Will Clark.

Rondell White, Todd Hollandsworth and Henry Rodriguez also changed places Monday in a flurry that saw 10 deals.

Teams had until 4 p.m. EDT to take care of business. From now on, all trades require putting players through waivers, always a tricky proposition.

While Tom Goodwin, Al Martin and Steve Trachsel moved to contenders, there were some surprises at the top.

Juan Gonzalez, John Wetteland and Jeromy Burnitz, all mentioned prominently in trade rumors, stayed put. And the AL East-leading New York Yankees, linked to most every available star, did nothing.

Then again, the two-time World Series champions had already gotten David Justice, Denny Neagle, Glenallen Hill and Jose Vizcaino in the last month.

"It was a very volatile market," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "It's not easy trying to line up matches with people, whether it's payroll, talent or a whol lot of other issues.

"Some big names got floated out there. But it's not easy to get to 'yes,"' he said. "I'm comfortable with the team we have. That's why we were able to walk away and say 'no."'

Gonzalez, who turned down a trade to the Yankees in June, was pursued by Seattle. But the AL West leaders could not close a deal for the Detroit slugger.

"We were optimistic," Mariners general manager Pat Gillick said. "It was a decision that was made by the Tigers. The ball was in their court."

After missing out on the two-time MVP, the Mariners acquired another outfielder, getting Martin from San Diego for first baseman-outfielder John Mabry and a minor league pitcher.

The Baltimore Orioles were in the middle of two big trades, sending Clark and cash to St. Louis for third base prospect Jose Leon and moving Surhoff to Atlanta in a five-player deal.

Minus McGwire, the NL Central-leading Cardinals felt compelled to add a bat at first base.

McGwire went on the disabled list July 6 with pain in his right knee and there's no telling when he'll return. In his absence, St. Louis was 7-13 going into Monday night's game at Montreal.

"There's some uncertainty about Mark," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "We think he's got a chance to come back, but in the meantime Will Clark's a winning-type of veteran. He should help us.

"That's a heck of a coup for us. I hope Mark comes back, and then we can work them both in there together," he said. "But right now, it really helps us."

Clark was hitting .301 with nine homers and 28 RBIs in 79 games with Baltimore. McGwire is batting .303 with 30 home runs and 69 RBIs in only 221 at-bats.

"Everybody gets banged up," La Russa said. "In the end, nobody really cares nobody's going to look back and say, 'You didn't win because you lost Mark.'

"I knew that our front office was really trying and that they were catching some heat back home because some guys were going other places," he said.

The Cardinals filled another need, too. With catcher Eli Marrero likely out until September with an injured left thumb, they got Carlos Hernandez from San Diego for Heathcliff Slocumb. During the weekend, St. Louis acquired Jason Christiansen and Mike Timlin for the bullpen, making Slocumb expendable.

The NL East-leading Braves, hoping for a return to the World Series, got Surhoff and reliever Gabe Molina from the Orioles for outfielder Trenidad Hubbard and two minor leaguers.

Surhoff is batting .293 with 27 doubles, 13 homers and 57 RBIs. He owns the longest consecutive games streak in the majors at 427.

"We felt like improving the offense of our ballclub, especially in the outfield, was something we needed to do," Braves general manager John Schuerholz said.

Surhoff, also coveted by the Yankees, joined the Orioles for the 1996 season. Tears welled up in his eyes as he talked about the trade.

"I just wouldn't have expected it to happen the way it happened," he said. "It's not that I don't want to play in Atlanta. I'm sure I'm going into a great situation and I know it's going to work out. I just thought I was going to be here."

In other trades: the Chicago Cubs made two deals involving outfielders. They got White from Montreal for pitcher Scott Downs, then traded Rodriguez to Florida for two prospects.

Los Angeles sent Hollandsworth to Colorado for Goodwin, who has 39 stolen bases, in an exchange of outfielders.

Toronto tried to bolster their staff by getting Trachsel and Guthrie from Tampa Bay for a prospect and a player to be named.

"The deal we made today was a classic July 31st deal," Devil Rays GM Chuck LaMar said. "We were looking to get better for the future, and Toronto was looking for major league help now."

Players that slip through waivers and move before Aug. 31 are eligible for postseason play with their new teams. Last year, Rod Beck, Harold Baines and Lenny Harris switched clubs in August.

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