<
>

Mets claim Dodgers OF Ledee on waivers

LOS ANGELES -- Ricky Ledee is headed back to the Big Apple,
this time with the New York Mets.

The backup outfielder was placed on waivers Monday night by the
Los Angeles Dodgers and quickly claimed by New York. The NL East
leaders were looking for a left-handed bat off the bench now that
switch-hitting second baseman Jose Valentin and outfielder Endy
Chavez are playing regularly.

To make room for Ledee, the Mets designated outfielder Eli Marrero for assignment on Wednesday.

The Mets also traded right fielder Xavier Nady to Pittsburgh for
pitching help last week.

"I got the feeling that something was happening. I just didn't
know where," Ledee said. "I've been down this road before. The
good thing is that I'm going to go to another winning team. I just
want to play baseball."

Ledee was batting .245 (13-for-53) in 43 games with a homer and
eight RBI for the Dodgers this season. The eight-year veteran
missed 64 games because of a pulled groin muscle. Last season, he
hit .278 in 102 games with seven homers and 39 RBI after signing
with the Dodgers as a free agent.

"I love the Dodgers, but that's just the way it is," Ledee
said. "I wanted to stay here, but I really wasn't doing anything
here. I was pinch-hitting in the third inning and fourth inning,
and that's not what I was here for. I know my job and I know what I
have to do. I don't know if it's going to be the same thing over
there or not, but I get prepared for what I do. Hopefully, I'll go
there and keep winning."

The 32-year-old Ledee began his big league career with the New
York Yankees in 1998 and went 6-for-10 with three doubles, four
RBI and two walks in a World Series sweep of San Diego that
season. He was traded to Cleveland in June 2000 with pitchers Jake
Westbrook and Zach Day for David Justice.

"I love to play in New York, and I liked playing for the
Yankees," said Ledee, who also has played for Texas, Philadelphia
and San Francisco. "I was caught up in all that stuff when I got
traded from the Yankees, but I'm older now and I'm more mature."