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Red Sox release Smoltz; Detroit deals for Huff

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Associated Press
August 18, 2009
— John Smoltz has been released by the Boston Red Sox. Now the question remains: Will he pitch again?

The 42-year-old right-hander signed with the Red Sox last January after two decades with Atlanta, where he was a Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All-Star. Smoltz was particularly memorable in the postseason, going 15-4 with four saves and 2.65 ERA.


That record prompted Boston to sign take a chance and sign him to a $5.5 million, one-year contract, knowing he couldn’t pitch immediately as he recovered from right shoulder surgery.


He never really made it back.


After eight starts with the Red Sox, Smoltz was 2-5 with an 8.32 ERA. General Manager Theo Epstein flew to New York on Aug. 7 to give Smoltz the word in person that he was being designated for assignment. The team had until Monday to trade, release or send him to the minors.


Tom Glavine said he had not talked with his former Braves teammate, but he predicted Smoltz will pitch again.


“I’m sure someone will grab him,” Glavine said in a text message to The Associated Press.


There is no room for Smoltz to make a return to Atlanta, general manager Frank Wren said Monday.


“With the anticipated addition of Tim Hudson in the near future we have not pursued John Smoltz,” Wren said in an e-mail on Monday.


The Braves are preparing to add Hudson to a staff that already includes starters Derek Lowe, Javier Vazquez, Jair Jurrjens, Kenshin Kawakami and Tommy Hanson. Hudson, returning from elbow surgery, is in an injury rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett.


In his final appearance with the Red Sox, the Yankees battered Smoltz for eight runs on nine hits and four walks.


Tigers trade for Huff

The Detroit Tigers bolstered their offense for a pennant drive by obtaining first baseman Aubrey Huff from the Baltimore Orioles on Monday for a minor leaguer.


“I’ve been in last place basically my whole career, so this is an exciting time for me,” Huff said. “I’m looking forward to it.”


The Tigers began Monday leading the Chicago White Sox by 2˝ games in the AL Central. The last-place Orioles obtained pitcher Brett Jacobson from Detroit and assigned the right-hander to Class A Frederick.


Huff is batting .253 with 13 homers and 72 RBIs. He recently hit his 200th career homer and should fit nicely in a Detroit lineup that ranks 11th in the AL in runs.


and seventh in home runs.


“He adds another left-handed bat to our ballclub and is a middle-of-the-lineup type hitter,” Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said. “We’ve worked on trying to get a bat for a while.”


Huff’s contract with Baltimore expires after this season, so Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail decided it was the right time to deal the 32-year-old veteran to a contender.


Jacobson was 1-3 with six saves and a 3.74 ERA in 35 games with Class A Lakeland this season.


Wright rejoins Mets

David Wright is feeling better and expects to play again this season.


The New York Mets’ All-Star third baseman was back at Citi Field on Monday, two days after he was hit flush on the helmet by a 94 mph fastball from San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain.


Wright was diagnosed with a concussion and spent Saturday night in a hospital before being released Sunday. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list for the first time in his career.


Wright said he was embarrassed to be on the DL, but confident he’ll return to the Mets’ injury-depleted lineup this year.


New York reliever Billy Wagner also rejoined the team and is expected to be activated from the disabled list Friday.


Around the horn

-- Pedro De Los Santos and Luis Hernandez, a pair of New York Mets prospects in the Dominican Summer League, have been suspended for 50 games each following positive tests under baseball’s minor league drug program.


Noel De Leon, a free agent pitcher formerly with Tampa Bay’s Dominican Summer League team, also received a 50-game suspension.


All three tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol, Major League Baseball said Monday. The suspensions for the Mets pitchers started immediately, and De Leon’s penalty will begin when he signs with another team.


There have been 55 suspensions this year under the minor league drug program and four under the major league program.


-- The Texas Rangers are cutting their ties with pitcher Vicente Padilla. The Rangers put the right-hander on unconditional waivers Monday for the purpose of releasing him. The Rangers say he’s expected to clear waivers and become a free agent on Wednesday.


The Rangers designated Padilla for assignment on Aug. 7, beginning a 10-day period in which the club could trade or release him, or assign him outright to the minor leagues.


Padilla was 8-6 with a 4.92 ERA in 18 starts for Texas this season. Originally acquired in December 2005 in a trade with Philadelphia, Padilla was 43-34 with a 4.90 ERA over the last four seasons with the Rangers.



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