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Patient Braves come up with needed leadoff bat

Former Astro Michael Bourn gives the Braves a natural leadoff hitter and a fine glove in center.

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Former Astro Michael Bourn gives the Braves a natural leadoff hitter and a fine glove in center.

ATLANTA — While other NL contenders beefed up for the playoffs, the Braves seemed to keep missing out on players who could've boosted their hopes.

Turns out, they landed the guy they wanted all along.

Atlanta acquired speedy CF Michael Bourn from the Astros on Sunday in a five-player deal, giving the Braves their first true leadoff hitter in at least six years.

The Astros received CF Jordan Schafer and three minor-league pitchers, but the Braves kept their top pitching prospects.

"We haven't had that kind of threat in the top of our lineup in a long time," said 3B Chipper Jones, one of the numerous Braves slowed by injuries.

Bourn, a Gold Glove winner last season, is hitting .303 with a .363 on-base percentage and leads the majors with 39 stolen bases. He goes from the last-place Astros to a playoff contender that has one of baseball's best rotations but was desperate for offense because of ailments and lackluster performances.

The Braves haven't had a prototypical leadoff hitter since Rafael Furcal left after the 2005 season.

"I'm excited," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He makes the defense do things they don't want to do."

RANGERS SOLIDIFY PEN: AL West-leading Texas completed its second deal for a reliever in less than 18 hours with the acquisition of RHP Mike Adams from the Padres. The Rangers sent minor-league LHP Robbie Erlin and RHP Joe Wieland to San Diego.

The Rangers on Saturday acquired Orioles setup man Koji Uehara for RHP Tommy Hunter and 1B Chris Davis.

Adams had a 1.13 ERA in 48 appearances for the Padres.

BOSOX NIX ONE, MAKE ANOTHER: Hours after backing out of a deal for A's RHP Rich Harden over his medical records, the Red Sox acquired LHP Erik Bedard from the Mariners in a three-team deal involving the Dodgers. Boston also got RHP Josh Fields from Seattle. Boston sent C Tim Federowicz and RHPs Juan Rodriguez and Stephen Fife to Los Angeles for OF Trayvon Robinson and OF Chih-Hsien Chiang. Boston then sent those two prospects to Seattle.

PIRATES ADD POP: Pittsburgh acquired OF Ryan Ludwick from the Padres for a player to be named or cash considerations. Ludwick batted .238 with a team-leading 11 homers.

RELIEF FOR D'BACKS: Arizona acquired RH reliever Brad Ziegler from the Athletics for LHP Jordan Norberto and 1B Brandon Allen. Ziegler has a 2.39 ERA in 372/3 innings. Diamondbacks relievers entered Sunday with a cumulative 3.46 ERA since the All-Star break.

FURCAL TRADE COMPLETED: The Cardinals sent minor-league OF Alex Castellanos to the Dodgers for SS Rafael Furcal, who waived his no-trade clause.

DEAL OFFICIAL: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez passed his physical, completing a trade that sent him from the Rockies to the Indians for four minor-leaguers.

YANKS STAND PAT: Every team in a playoff position added to its roster during the final week of July — except the Yankees, who made no July trades for the first time since 1998, when they ended the month in first place by 15 games. In other Yankees news, SS Derek Jeter left the game against the Orioles in the third inning after being hit by a pitch on his right knuckles and is day to day.

CARDINALS: RF Lance Berkman returned to the lineup after missing four games with a sore right shoulder.

GIANTS: Rookie SS Brandon Crawford was optioned to Triple-A Fresno to make room for new SS Orlando Cabrera.

ROYALS: RHP Kyle Davies was scratched from his start against the Indians because of a sore right shoulder and replaced by LHP Danny Duffy.

WHITE SOX: 1B Paul Konerko left the game with the Red Sox after being hit in the knee with a pitch in the fourth inning. … The team unveiled a statue in the outfield concourse to honor former slugger Frank Thomas, its career leader in nearly every offensive category.

. Key pickups

Braves: CF Michael Bourn

Cardinals: SS Rafael Furcal, RHP Edwin Jackson

D'backs: RHP Jason Marquis, RHP Brad Ziegler

Giants: OF Carlos Beltran

Indians: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, RF Kosuke Fukudome

Phillies: RF Hunter Pence

Pirates: 1B Derrek Lee, OF Ryan Ludwick

Rangers: RHP Mike Adams, RHP Koji Uehara

Red Sox: LHP Erik Bedard

Tigers: RHP Doug Fister, RHP David Pauley

Patient Braves come up with needed leadoff bat 07/31/11 [Last modified: Monday, August 1, 2011 12:05am]
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