Angels Acquire Kazmir from Rays

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Scott Kazmir was traded from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night, giving the AL West leaders a major boost to their unsteady rotation.

The Angels acquired Kazmir, a two-time All-Star, for two minor
leaguers and a player to be named. The left-hander was 8-7 with a
5.92 ERA this season for the defending AL champion Rays.

"This is a surprise. I had heard rumors before, but it's hard
to believe that it is now official," Kazmir said after Tampa Bay's
6-2 loss to Detroit. "It's a disappointment because of all the
relationships I've built in the organization and the city, but you
can't control the business side of the game."

Tampa Bay receives left-hander Alex Torres and third baseman
Matt Sweeney in the deal.

"We're very excited about the player that we can't name yet,
but also about the other two," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "The
lefty has a great arm, and Sweeney is one of the best hitters in
the minors."

Looking to lock up their third straight division title, the
Angels began the night four games ahead of second-place Texas.
Tampa Bay was 3½ out in the wild-card race.

"We are excited to have a pitcher of Scott's caliber," Angels
general manager Tony Reagins said. "He has excelled at the major
league level since he came into the league, and we like his
competitiveness. The move also provides us with some depth in our

Because he was dealt before Aug. 31, Kazmir is eligible for
postseason play with Los Angeles. He had to clear waivers to be
traded at this point in the season.

"I'm going to a quality organization that is in the race every
year," Kazmir said. "That's something to look forward to, but I
don't think it will hit me until I fly out there tomorrow."

The move came as a bit of a surprise because the 25-year-old
Kazmir was a key part of a talented young core that helped Tampa
Bay go from perennial losers to pennant winners last year. But the
trade provides salary relief for the cost-conscious Rays, who have
several important budget decisions coming up.

Kazmir is earning $6 million this season in the first year of a
$28.5 million, three-year deal he agreed to in May 2008. He is owed
$8 million next season and $12 million in 2010, and his contract
contains a $13.5 million club option for 2012 with a $2.5 million

"I don't know what to say, because he's been pitching well,"
Rays teammate Carl Crawford said. "It surprises me to see Kaz go,
because of everything he's meant to the organization."

Kazmir led the AL with 239 strikeouts in 2007 but has been
slowed by injuries during his career.

All season, Los Angeles has been piecing together a rotation
beset by injuries to John Lackey, Ervin Santana, Joe Saunders and
Kelvim Escobar, and the tragic death of Nick Adenhart.

Lackey can become a free agent after the season.

Kazmir will become the Angels' 14th starting pitcher this year,
most in the majors. He was 4-1 with a 4.38 ERA over his last six
starts for Tampa Bay. His previous outing was Wednesday at Toronto,
where he struck out 10 while allowing a run and four hits over six
innings in a no-decision.

Kazmir was selected in the first round of the 2002 draft by the
New York Mets, then traded to Tampa Bay in 2004 while he was still
in the minors. He is the club's career leader in wins, strikeouts,
starts and innings pitched.

"It's very easy to say that this trade will hurt our chances,
given how Scott has pitched his last few starts," Maddon said.
"But we've got guys in the minors that we really like and that we
think can help us."

The 21-year-old Sweeney batted .299 with nine homers and 44 RBIs
in 58 games this season at Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. He strained
his left hip in early June and spent two months on the disabled

Torres, also 21, is a combined 13-4 with a 2.75 ERA in 26 games
(24 starts) at Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Arkansas. He began the
season in A-ball, going 10-3 with a 2.74 ERA and 124 strikeouts in
21 appearances. He was promoted to Arkansas on Aug. 1, and was 3-1
with a 2.77 ERA in five starts.