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Yankees acquire Neagle in trade

Braves improve their pitching with Philly’s Ashby

SHARE Yankees acquire Neagle in trade

The New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves knew they had to improve their pitching staffs if they wanted a rematch of the 1999 World Series.

On Wednesday, both teams made moves to accomplish that goal.

The Yankees acquired Denny Neagle, and the Braves picked up Andy Ashby.

New York traded minor league third baseman Drew Henson, outfielder Jackson Melian, right-hander Brian Reith and left-hander Ed Yarnall to Cincinnati for the left-handed Neagle and minor league outfielder Mike Frank.

"We've made the decision to go for it," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "Denny Neagle is the guy we wanted. We feel he was the best pitcher available on the market."

"I know there's been players throughout their careers that don't necessarily like to play in New York, whether they say the fans or the media can be tough on them," Neagle said. "You've got to have fun with it. That's right up my alley, to go there with some of the most crazy, wildest fans in baseball."

Neagle, 31, a free agent after this season, is 14-2 with a 3.14 ERA since last August.

Atlanta, trying to improve a once-dominant pitching staff, traded for right-hander Ashby, sending former top prospect Bruce Chen and minor league pitcher Jimmy Osting to Philadelphia.

The Reds have gone back to rebuilding only a few months after winning 96 games, trading for Ken Griffey Jr. and becoming a favorite to win the NL Central.

"I know this deal's going to be unpopular for the present," Reds general manager Jim Bowden said. "The White Sox took a lot of grief when they made a similar trade a few years ago. But in the end, that's how you win."

Ashby, 33, has a 76-81 career record and a 4.10 ERA in nine years. His ERA ballooned to 5.68 this season, but he has allowed just three earned runs in his last 15 innings.

"Ashby's ability and experience are very appealing to us, and we believe he's shown signs of returning to his form of old," Atlanta general manager John Schuerholz said.

Phillies general manager Ed Wade said the team was close to trading Ashby to the Yankees, but made the deal with Atlanta after the Yankees-Reds trade. A third team made an offer for Ashby that was unacceptable, he said.

Ashby, a two-time All-Star, is in the final year of a $15 million, three-year contract. He is making $5.9 million this year.

Chen, 23, one of the Braves' top prospects for several years, has never established himself as a major league starter. He was 4-0 with a 2.50 ERA in 22 appearances for Atlanta this season, mostly in long relief.

Frank could help the Yankees replace Shane Spencer. The outfielder will miss the rest of the season because of a torn ligament in his right knee and was placed on the 60-day disabled list.