The National League East-leading Atlanta 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 Toronto on Wednesday.
The Braves also traded left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes to the Blue Jays in the five-player deal while also adding left-handed minor league pitcher Tim Collins and minor league shortstop Tyler Pastornicky.
Gonzalez, 33, is hitting .259 with 17 home runs and 50 RBI. He is tied for fifth in the American League with 43 extra-base hits.
“He’s an outstanding defensive shortstop and he’s having a very good offensive season,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said. “We think he can improve our run production. He immediately leads our team in home runs.”
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Troy Glaus had 14 homers to lead the Braves at the All-Star break.
Escobar hit .299 with career-best totals of 14 homers and 76 RBI last season. He has struggled this year, hitting .238 with no homers and 19 RBI.
“We feel that Yunel Escobar will absolutely turn it around,” Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos said.
“There’s certainly an element of risk there, but … I think if Yunel Escobar was doing what he did in the past, he’s not available to us and this trade does not present itself.”
The Braves also took on more salary. Escobar is making $435,000 this season. Gonzalez’s salary is $2.75 million; his contract includes a 2011 club option for $2.5 million.
“Getting a guy we can control for a year and a half was important to us,” Wren said.
Wren said Gonzalez is expected to be with the team for tonight’s game against Milwaukee. Pastornicky will report to Double-A Mississippi.
The Braves have a four-game lead over the New York Mets and a 41/2-game lead over Philadelphia.
The Blue Jays, one game under .500 and 121/2 games behind the New York Yankees in the Americna League East, optioned Reyes to Double-A New Hampshire.
PEAVY’S SURGERY A SUCCESS
Chicago White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy had surgery to repair a detached latissimus dorsi muscle in his right posterior shoulder. He will miss the rest of the season.
The surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago revealed a clean detachment of the tendon off the bone with little or no muscle damage, doctors said. Doctors said in a release the procedure was a success.
Peavy, 7-6 with a 4.63 ERA, was hurt early in Chicago’s victory over the Los Angeles Angels last Tuesday night. With two outs in the second inning, Peavy delivered a 2-2 pitch to Mike Napoli and then jumped off the mound and raised his right arm before walking straight to the dugout with team trainer Herm Schneider.
ALL-STAR GAME A RATINGS FLOP
Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game has earned its lowest-ever television rating.
The National League’s 3-1 victory Tuesday night on Fox earned a 7.5 fast national rating and 13 share. That’s down 16 percent from the 8.9/15 for last season’s game, a 4-3 win by the AL.
The previous low was an 8.1/14 in 2005.