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Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Rockies put Fuentes on waivers, bereavement list; Taveras on waivers

By Jayson Stark
ESPN.com

The Colorado Rockies have placed closer Brian Fuentes and center fielder Willy Taveras on waivers and are expected to explore dealing them this week, major league sources told ESPN.com.

Fuentes was placed on waivers Monday, and Taveras followed Tuesday. So Fuentes' waivers would expire Wednesday afternoon, with Taveras' waivers expiring a day later.

The Rockies announced on Tuesday that Fuentes was also placed on the bereavement list. Fuentes earned his 26th save of the season in Colorado's 4-2 win over San Francisco on Monday but left the team a day later to be with his family. He can stay on the bereavement list three to seven days. It's believed that no player has ever been traded while on the bereavement list, but officials of other clubs believe there are no rules against doing so.

"When you place a player on the bereavement list, it's just a paper move," an executive of one club said. "So my interpretation is, if you wanted to make a deal, you'd just reinstate the player and trade him. Then the other club could put him back on the bereavement list."

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle is not putting a timetable on Fuentes' return, if it happens.

"When it's family issues I don't push it," Hurdle said. "He just needs to get back to his family and he'll come back when he can."

Fuentes is expected to draw a large number of claims.

"There's nobody like him available," said an executive of one contender. "So I'd be surprised if every team in contention didn't claim him."

If that's the case, the Dodgers -- who have the worst record (65-66) of any contender -- would get the only opportunity to make a deal for Fuentes. But one general manager said he didn't expect the Rockies to wind up dealing Fuentes at all.

"I think they're still in it," the GM said. "And I don't think they really want to trade him unless they get exactly what they're looking for."

In July, the Rockies targeted mostly young, high-ceiling, big-league ready starting pitchers as the centerpiece of any deal. They also were asking for a second prospect, because Fuentes is expected to be a Type A free agent this winter, meaning the Rockies would want to deal him for the equivalent of the two compensation picks they would get if he signs elsewhere.

Unlike Fuentes, Taveras can't be a free agent until after the 2010 season. So the Rockies have no need to trade him now. They dangled him before the deadline in their search for starting pitching, but had only limited interest.

To replace Fuentes on the roster, the Rockies recalled Steven Register from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Tuesday. Register was 5-3 with 16 saves and a 3.32 ERA for Colorado Springs. The right-hander was called up from the minors earlier this month and struck out the only batter he faced against Washington on Aug. 4 before being optioned back.

Jayson Stark covers major league baseball for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.