Athletics trade Saarloos to Reds

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CINCINNATI – Kirk Saarloos has pitched once at Great American Ball Park – enough to know what his new home is all about.

The Cincinnati Reds acquired the right-hander Tuesday in a trade that sent minor league reliever David Shafer to the Oakland Athletics. Each team will get a player to be named as well.

The 27-year-old Saarloos went 7-7 with two saves and a 4.75 ERA last season for the AL West champions. After being Oakland’s No. 5 starter in 2005, he made 16 starts and 19 relief appearances last year, and figured he was headed for the bullpen again this season.

The Reds are trying to fill out their rotation and bolster a bullpen that was one of their biggest problems last season. Saarloos could fit in either spot.

“That will be something that gets decided in spring training,” general manager Wayne Krivsky said. “He’s done both. He gives you that kind of versatility to be used either way. We’ll let him compete with the other people there.”

Saarloos thinks the move represents a better chance for him to start. He figured Oakland’s rotation was probably set, and he wasn’t going to be in it.

Yankee Stadium to hold 2008 All-Star game

NEW YORK – Baseball is set to announce Yankee Stadium as site of the 2008 All-Star game.

Commissioner Bud Selig will hold a news conference at New York’s City Hall with Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Jan. 31. Selig has said since last summer that Yankee Stadium was a leading candidate for the game.

The ballpark, which opened in 1923, is scheduled to close after the 2008 season, and the Yankees will move into a new stadium, being built across a street, the following year.

This year’s All-Star game will be at San Francisco, and the 2009 game will be in St. Louis.

The timing of the news conference was reported Tuesday by Newsday.

Podsednik out 6 weeks after groin surgery

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CHICAGO – Chicago White Sox outfielder Scott Podsednik, a hero in the 2005 World Series who slumped last season, will be sidelined six weeks after having groin surgery, according to several reports.

The White Sox are also close to signing free agent Darin Erstad, the Chicago Tribune reported on its Web site Tuesday night.

Podsednik’s average dipped from .290 during the first World Series run for the White Sox in 88 years to .261 last season and his stolen bases dropped from 59 to 40. He hit a game-wining homer in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series against the Astros.

He agreed to a one-year, $2.9 million deal with the White Sox on Dec. 1.

Podsednik, a career .275 hitter, leads the major leagues with 169 steals over the last three seasons and made the AL American League All-Star in 2005.

He came to the White Sox in a trade from the Brewers for outfielder Carlos Lee in December 2004.

Erstad was hobbled by ankle problems last season and played only 40 games for the Angels. He is a career .286 hitter who can play all three outfield positions and first base. He would have to pass a physical before a deal is completed.

With Podsednik out, the White Sox could give top prospect Josh Fields, who’s played mostly at third base, a shot in the left field.

AP-ES-01-23-07 1904EST

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