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Friday, November 17, 2000
A's get two minor league arms in return

ESPN.com news services

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Veteran second baseman Randy Velarde, who helped the Oakland Athletics to the American League West crown in 2000, was traded to the Texas Rangers for two minor league pitchers Aaron Harang and Ryan Cullen on Friday.

Velarde
Velarde

Velarde, who turns 38 next week, hit .278 with 12 home runs and 41 RBI during his 14th major league season. He went 5-for-20 with a double and three RBI in a five-game loss to the New York Yankees in the Division Series.

A Texas native, Velarde became the sixth player in major league history to total 200 hits while playing for two teams in 1999. He was acquired by the A's from Anaheim prior to the trade deadline.

Velarde hit .317 with 16 homers and 76 RBI that season, posting 115 hits for the Angels and 85 for the A's. He was the first player to collect 200 hits in a season while playing for two teams since Willie Montanez in 1976.

"He is one of the top defensive second baseman in the game and brings an experienced veteran to our club," Rangers general manager Doug Melvin said.

The Rangers gave up right-hander Harang and left-hander Cullen.

Harang, 22, was 13-5 with a 3.32 ERA in 28 games at Charlotte this year. He led the Class A Florida State League in wins.

Cullen, 20, was 6-6 with a 3.04 ERA and nine saves in 48 appearances with Savannah of the Class A South Atlantic League in 2000.

Velarde leaves a team that has two of the best young pitchers in the AL in Tim Hudson and Barry Zito and depth at second base in Jose Ortiz, who hit .351 with 24 homers and 108 RBI at Triple-A Sacramento.

A former utility man for the Yankees, Velarde turned the 10th unassisted regular season triple play in major league history and the first in six seasons on May 29 at Yankee Stadium.

He overcame elbow surgery in 1997 to become a reliable major league starter, something he was never given a chance to do with the Yankees. He hit .285 in 530 at-bats in 1996 for the Angels but missed all of the 1997 season.

In 1,124 career games, Velarde has hit .277 with 89 home runs and 405 RBI. He was a 19th-round draft pick by the Chicago White Sox in 1985.

Velarde likely will be the starting second baseman in Texas, where Luis Alicea hit .294 with six homers and 63 RBI last season.

Texas also hired Bobby Cuellar to replace Larry Hardy, who became pitching coach.

Outfielder Scarborough Green was placed on waivers for the purpose of his unconditional release, and the contracts of four players were purchased from Triple-A Oklahoma City: right-hander Jovanny Cedeno, first basemen Travis Hafner and Carlos Pena, and second baseman Jason Romano.

Three other players -- right-hander Danny Kolb, left-hander Justin Thompson, and outfielder Ruben Mateo -- were activated from the 60-day disabled list.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.