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Braves trade former Screven pitcher McBride

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Posted: June 20, 2007 10:52 p.m.
Updated: July 5, 2007 5:00 a.m.

    ATLANTA — The Braves swapped left-handed relievers with Detroit on Wednesday, sending former Screven County pitcher Macay McBride to the Tigers for Wilfredo Ledezma.

    If nothing else, the deal was convenient.

    Ledezma will fly to Atlanta with his former team, which opens a three-game series against the Braves on Friday. McBride will hang out in his native Georgia until his new club arrives.

    ‘‘It will make the transition easier,’’ McBride said. ‘‘I just have to walk over there’’ to the visiting clubhouse.

    Ledezma is 3-1 with a 4.79 ERA in 23 games out of the bullpen this year. The 26-year-old went 15-18 with a 5.15 ERA in 33 starts and 73 relief appearances during five seasons with the Tigers. The 24-year-old McBride, selected by the Braves in the first-round of the 2001 amateur draft, was 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 18 relief appearances with Atlanta this season. He also went 1-2 with a 3.13 ERA in five starts and two relief appearances for Triple-A Richmond.

    Braves general manager John Schuerholz targeted Ledezma, feeling the bullpen needed a hard-throwing lefty after Mike Gonzalez had season-ending elbow injury.

    ‘‘He brings a different look to the bullpen from the left-handed side,’’ Schuerholz said. ‘‘Macay is a young guy who’s still developing his pitching ability. But it’s obvious by our actions that we like Ledezma and his future better.’’

    McBride first came up to the Braves in 2005 and has gone 6-1 with a 3.99 ERA in 112 games, holding left-handed hitters to a .176 average (28-for-159). He struggled with his control early this season and was sent back to the minors, but had pitched better since his recall on May 16. Atlanta recalled right-hander Joey Devine from Double-A Mississippi to fill in until Ledezma arrives.

    Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski said the team will have to make some moves in the coming days with Kenny Rogers scheduled to make his first start of the season Friday and Nate Robertson expected to return soon. The Tigers can return McBride to the minors without the risk of losing him on waivers. Ledezma is out of options.

    ‘‘We need to have some flexibility there,’’ Dombrowski said.

    Manager Jim Leyland said Ledezma was not going to be able to crack the rotation, and the lack of options made it impossible to send him to the minors to get some starts.

    ‘‘We could do nothing with Wil,’’ Leyland said. ‘‘We wish we could have sent him out and started him. It was just one of those deals. He’s been very good on some occasions and just OK on others, but there’s a lot of potential there.’’

    McBride, who pitched at SCHS, was stunned by the trade. He grew up cheering for the Braves and hoped to have a long career with his favorite team.

    ‘‘It hasn’t really sunk in yet,’’ he said. ‘‘I guess I’m a Detroit Tiger now.’’

 

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