ATLANTA — The NL East-leading Braves, looking to bolster their lineup for the second half of the season, acquired Alex Gonzalez in a swap of shortstops that sent Yunel Escobar to the Blue Jays on Wednesday.
The Braves also traded LHP Jo-Jo Reyes to the Blue Jays in the five-player deal while adding minor-league LHP Tim Collins and minor-league SS Tyler Pastornicky.
Gonzalez, 33, is hitting .259 with 17 homers and 50 RBIs. He is tied for fifth in the American League with 43 extra-base hits.
"We think he can improve our run production," Braves GM Frank Wren said. "He immediately leads our team in home runs."
The Braves' homer leader at the break is Troy Glaus, with 14.
Escobar hit .299 with career-best totals of 14 homers and 76 RBIs last season. He has struggled this year, hitting only .238 with no homers and 19 RBIs.
"We feel that Yunel Escobar will absolutely turn it around," Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos said.
Rays vs. Yanks: MLB's second half starts with seven games today, but the Rays will get the day off before beginning a three-game series Friday in New York. RHP James Shields (7-9, 4.87 ERA) will take on Yankees LHP CC Sabathia (12-3, 3.09) in the opener. After New York, the Rays head to Baltimore for three games, get a day off, then go to Cleveland for three more games. The Rays' first home game of the second half is July 26 vs. the Tigers.
Mets: OF Carlos Beltran, 33 and six months removed from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, returns to the lineup today against the Giants batting fourth and playing centerfield. Manager Jerry Manuel said he will shift 1B Ike Davis from cleanup to fifth, with Jason Bay to follow.
Orioles: Former star SS Cal Ripken Jr. is exploring the possibility of joining the team as a part-time adviser, which would ease his transition into a permanent position after his son graduates high school in 2012. Ripken, 50 next month, has been meeting with owner Peter Angelos and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail. The conversations have centered on a position in the front office. MacPhail is looking for a new manager, but it won't be Ripken, who has no desire to abandon his family before both his children are in college. "It has some appeal to me, although in the short term it has no appeal to me because of the time commitment," Ripken said. "But in the bigger picture, sure, I'd consider that."
White Sox: RHP Jake Peavy had successful surgery to repair a detached lat muscle in his right shoulder, the team said. He will miss the rest of the season. Peavy, 29, has said he hopes to be throwing by February. He was injured July 6 while throwing a pitch.
Triple-A All-Stars: Elliot Johnson of the Rays' Durham affiliate singled home the go-ahead run in the sixth to give the International League a 2-1 win over the Pacific Coast League in Allentown, Pa.