Pirates add Rodriguez to strong rotation

PITTSBURGH — The Pirates, a surprise contender for a playoff spot this season, bolstered their starting rotation by acquiring LHP Wandy Rodriguez from the Astros for three minor-leaguers.

The Pirates also got cash in the trade that was announced Tuesday night. Pittsburgh sent LHPs Rudy Owen and Colton Cain and OF Robbie Grossman to Houston.

"I feel happy and I feel a little bit bad," Rodriguez, 33, told Fox 26 Sports in Houston. "I've stayed in the Astros organization for many years. I feel good and bad, but I understand the situation because they want to play a lot of young guys."

Rodriguez told the station that it was difficult shaking hands with teammates during the game after the trade was announced.

"Oh my God, I was looking like I wanted to cry," he said. "I feel very bad.

"It's hard. It was an emotional time."

Hoping to make the playoffs for first time since 1992, Pirates general manger Neal Huntington improved one of the top pitching staffs in the National League with the acquisition of Rodriguez, who is 7-9 with a 3.79 ERA for the worst team in the major leagues.

Rodriguez has spent his entire eight-year career with the Astros. His overall record is 80-83 with a 4.04 ERA.

The Pirates began the night 1½ games behind the Reds in the NL Central and in the thick of the wild-card race.

KENDALL RETIRES: C Jason Kendall announced his retirement five days after signing with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, a Royals affiliate. Kendall, 38, was a three-time All-Star in 15 major-league seasons.

J. UPTON OFF MARKET?: Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick tried to put to rest the trade rumors swirling around RF Justin Upton, telling the Arizona Republic he will likely remain on the club the rest of the season. "I think we're better off with him on our team," Kendrick said. "I this whole thing has gotten way more attention than it deserves."

INDIANS-RED SOX TRADE: Cleveland acquired INF/OF Brent Lillibridge from Boston for minor-league RHP Jose De La Torre.

UMP ILL: The Dodgers and Cardinals began their game with a three-man umpire crew because Eric Cooper went out with an illness on a 103-degree day.

BLUE JAYS: OF Jose Bautista, out since July 16 with a sore left wrist, is recovering more quickly than expected and could swing a bat and hit off the tee soon.

CARDINALS: RHP Chris Carpenter expects to begin a rehab program next week after surgery to relieve nerve compression that left his arm and much of the right side of his body numb. … 1B Lance Berkman was taken out for a pinch-runner not long after getting hit by a pitch on his surgically repaired right knee in the third inning.

DODGERS: LHP Ted Lilly, on the 15-day disabled list since late May with shoulder inflammation, threw three 20-pitch simulated innings in the bullpen.

MARINERS: 1B Justin Smoak was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma after a 1-for-20 skid dropped his average to .189.

MARLINS: 3B Hanley Ramirez returned after missing four games with a hand infection and was dropped to the sixth spot in the lineup.

METS: Closer Frank Francisco had a minor-league rehab assignment delayed because of right knee discomfort. The right-hander has been out since June 23 with an oblique strain. … RF Lucas Duda was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo.

TWINS: 3B Trevor Plouffe was diagnosed with a bone bruise after being hit by a pitch on his right thumb and is day to day.

WHITE SOX: C A.J. Pierzynski was out of the lineup with a minor strain in his right oblique.

Pirates add Rodriguez to strong rotation 07/24/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 11:45pm]

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