TORONTO - The NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals were the prime players in a three-team trade yesterday, getting pitcher Jake Westbrook from Cleveland and sending outfielder Ryan Ludwick to NL West-leading San Diego.
"I'm excited to go to a club that's contending for a playoff spot and pitch in some meaningful ballgames," Westbrook said.
Westbrook was scratched from his start in Toronto and headed for a flight to St. Louis. He said he was sad to leave Cleveland, his major-league home since 2001. "It's tough because this is all I've known other than about a week in the big leagues with the Yankees," he said.
The deal was announced about three hours before the non-waiver trading deadline.
"Anytime you're trading a veteran guy at this point in the year it's a difficult thing to do," Indians assistant general manager Chris Antonetti said. " . . . This guy epitomizes professionalism. I'm not sure there's a classier act anywhere in baseball."
Antonetti said the Indians sent cash to St. Louis and San Diego, adding that Westbrook agreed to "adjust" a $2-million trade bonus to ensure it went through. The Indians got Double-A pitcher Corey Kluber from San Diego.
St. Louis had been trying to boost their rotation after injuries to Kyle Lohse and Brad Penny. Ludwick, 32, had 37 homers and 113 RBIs in 2008. This year, he's batting .281 with 11 HRs and 43 RBIs, better numbers than any of San Diego's outfielders. - AP