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Reardon Traded to Braves

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The familiar tones of the Atlanta Braves’ tomahawk war chant echoed from the showers in the Boston clubhouse Sunday at Anaheim Stadium. Then, as Wade Boggs strolled by the crowd around Jeff Reardon, he broke into a whistle, echoing the same tune.

Reardon had gone from next-to-last place to first, as baseball’s all-time saves leader was traded to the Braves for the season’s stretch run.

“I’m very happy about going to Atlanta,” said Reardon, who was in the final season of his contract with the Red Sox. “It’s a good deal for me. I pick up 18 games in the standings.”

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The Braves, who lead Cincinnati by five games in the National League West, acquired Reardon a day before the today’s deadline for players to join teams and still be eligible for the playoffs and World Series.

“We’re very pleased to have been able to acquire a pitcher the caliber of Jeff Reardon, who over the years has established himself as one of the premiere relievers in baseball,” said Brave General Manager John Schuerholz, whose team was in need of bullpen help after Alejandro Pena, who leads the Braves with 15 saves, went on the disabled list Aug. 21 because of pain in his right elbow.

The Red Sox, who had expressed no interest in re-signing Reardon when his three-year, $6.8-million contract expires after the season, will receive two players to be decided.

“He’s a class person and a class act,” said Boston Manager Butch Hobson, who received a call from Boston General Manager Lou Gorman during the fourth inning alerting him that the trade was pending and not to use Reardon.

Reardon, who will turn 37 on Oct. 1, broke Rollie Fingers’ record of 341 saves June 15 and now has 354. He has 27 this season, but only 12 in his past 19 chances and his earned-run average is 4.25.

Reardon has pitched only 7 1/3 innings since July 31. His most recent save was Tuesday against Oakland.

The likelihood that he would be traded before today’s deadline had become so apparent to Reardon that he gathered most of his belongings from his locker before the Red Sox left Fenway Park for their West Coast road trip.”

“No, I wasn’t surprised,” he said. “They showed no interest in signing me here. I hadn’t been pitching very much. I know Atlanta is going to use me a lot.”

The move to solidify a team before the deadline is one Atlanta used last year, when it acquired Pena in August. Last week, AL East leader Toronto acquired starter David Cone--who also is eligible for free agency after the season--from the Mets.

Reardon is expected to join the Braves in New York today.


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