Wed, Jul 21, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Rich Aurilia decides to become Padre

AMERICAN BASEBALL Signed as a free agent in January, Aurilia has hit just .241 with four home runs and 28 RBIs in his first year in the American League

AP , SEATTLE, WASHINGTONAP, ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDAAP, ATLANTA, GEORGIAAP, CHICAGO

Third baseman Justin Leone of the Mariners dives for a ground ball hit by Gabe Kapler of the Red Sox 19 in Seattle, Washington, Monday. Leone missed the catch and Kapler arrived safely at first base.

PHOTO: AP

The San Diego Padres added some infield depth, getting Rich Aurilia from the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named or cash.

"He's got a lot of experience and played with winning teams with the Giants," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said Monday. "The guy gives us a proven veteran. We always liked him and felt he would strengthen our bench."

Aurilia was designated for assignment July 10, giving the Mariners 10 days to decide what to do with him.

"We hope the change of scenery gets him back on track," Bochy said. "Hopefully, coming back to the National League will do that."

Mariners manager Bob Melvin said he was happy for Aurilia to get another chance.

"He's going back to the National League and he knows that division because that's where he played before and he's a guy who relies on preparation," Melvin said.

Melvin said Aurilia was pressing too much in an effort to help the last-place Mariners, who are on pace to lose 100 games this season.

"He was just caught up in all that," Melvin said.

Aurilia has played shortstop for nearly his entire career, and the Padres already have Khalil Greene at that spot.

Greene has been impressive in his rookie year, but might need a backup toward the end of his first full season. The Padres are in contention for the NL West lead while the Mariners had the worst record in the AL at the time of the trade.

"He will be a utility player here," Bochy said. "He will help us on the field and in the clubhouse. He's a clutch player and a winning player. And he's versatile."

Aurilia, 32, hit 37 home runs with 97 RBIs in 2001 with San Francisco while batting in front of Barry Bonds. He led the NL in homers and RBIs by a shortstop in three consecutive seasons (1999-2001) and hit .324 in an All-Star season in 2001.

Aurilia was hurt last year and hit .277 with 13 homers and 58 RBIs with the Giants. He is a career .276 hitter with 130 homers and 501 RBIs since making his major league debut in 1995 with the Giants.

Aubrey Huff and Robert Fick drove in two runs each and Tampa Bay hung on for a 9-7 win over the New York Yankees after taking a five-run lead in the first.

Geoff Blum's RBI single off Tanyon Sturtze (3-2) snapped a 5-all tie in the sixth. Fick then hit a routine fly ball that dropped for a two-run double after outfielders Kenny Lofton and Hideki Matsui pulled off the ball -- each apparently thinking the other was going to make the catch.

The hit gave the Devil Rays' bullpen a three-run lead to protect for Lance Carter (3-2).

New York's Ruben Sierra homered for the third straight game. His two-run, pinch-hit shot in the eighth made it 8-7. Carl Crawford hit an RBI triple and then closer Danys Baez got four outs for his 19th save in 21 opportunities.

Twins 3, Tigers 1

In Detroit, pinch-hitter Jose Offerman's two-run single in the seventh inning led Minnesota to its second win in eight games.

Terry Mulholland (2-3) gave up one run on four hits in 6 2-3 innings, improving to 2-0 in three starts since moving into the rotation earlier this month.

White Sox 12, Rangers 6

In Arlington, Texas, Carl Everett homered for Chicago a day after he rejoined the White Sox in a trade.

Everett played designated hitter and went 2-for-5 with a walk and a solo homer in the fourth. He played the final 73 games of last season for Chicago after starting 2003 with the Rangers. He began this season with Montreal before he was traded for minor league pitchers Jon Rauch and Gary Majewski.

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