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Cubs bolster pen after trade with Pirates

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Associated Press
July 31, 2009
— The Chicago Cubs landed a new left-hander for their bullpen, acquiring John Grabow from the busy Pittsburgh Pirates in a five-player trade Thursday.

Locked in a tight race atop the NL Central, the Cubs sent right-handers Kevin Hart and Jose Ascanio and minor league infielder Josh Harrison to Pittsburgh for Grabow and lefty Tom Gorzelanny.


Grabow, a top situational lefty, is 3-0 with a 3.42 ERA in 45 appearances. He can become a free agent after the season and probably wouldn’t have re-signed with the Pirates.


“John Grabow is pretty darn good. It got to the point where we weren’t going to get John Grabow without Kevin in the deal,” Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said.


Gorzelanny, who was 14-10 with a 3.88 ERA for Pittsburgh in 2007, has spent most of this year at Triple-A Indianapolis.


The 26-year-old Hart was traded minutes after pitching Chicago to a 12-3 victory over Houston on Thursday. He is 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA in eight games, including four starts.


“This package was a great return for what we gave up,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said.


Hart found out after his third straight win that he wouldn’t be boarding a flight with the Cubs to Florida. Instead, he was headed to a new team—still wearing a Cubs sweat shirt.


“It’s a little weird,” Hart said. “You know it’s part of the business. It’s always a possibility it’s going to happen.”


Hendry said Grabow will complement fellow lefty Sean Marshall in the bullpen, giving the Cubs more flexibility.


“To get another lefty of that caliber is essential,” Hendry said.


Gorzelanny, from the Chicago suburb of Evergreen Park, will remain in Triple-A for the time being, Hendry said. The Cubs are encouraged that Gorzelanny is back on track and hope he will return to the form he showed two years ago.


Huntington said there was an “uneasy feeling” about trading Gorzelanny within the division.


“He’s made some nice adjustments. He’s more aggressive in the strike zone, he’s using the fastball better than last year for sure,” Huntington said. “But what counted for us is the three players we’re getting in return. We like the return, the ability for them to play and pitch for us for a long time.”


The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Hart has made four starts this season and also pitched out of the bullpen while splitting time between Triple-A and the majors.



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