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No Blockbusters as Deadline Passes

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<i> From Associated Press</i>

Kevin Appier, Billy Taylor and Jim Leyritz switched teams Saturday before baseball’s trading deadline passed at 9 p.m. PDT.

Juan Guzman, Terry Mulholland and Shawon Dunston also got dealt in a flurry in the final minutes.

The busy Oakland Athletics shuffled their staff, bracing for a wild-card run. They got Appier from the Kansas City Royals and also sent Taylor to the New York Mets for Jason Isringhausen and Greg McMichael.

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“They’re in a step-on-the-gas mode,” Appier said. “They think they’ve got a good thing going and they’re trying to improve their team.”

The Mets, meanwhile, made two other trades.

In a five-player swap with the Colorado Rockies, the Mets obtained outfielder Darryl Hamilton and reliever Chuck McElroy for outfielder Brian McRae and two minor leaguers. Later, the Mets got infielder Shawon Dunston from the St. Louis Cardinals for minor leaguer Craig Paquette.

Also moving to New York--again--was Leyritz. The Yankees reacquired Leyritz--who hit three home runs for them in the postseason in 1995-96--from the San Diego Padres for a minor-league pitcher.

Thirty minutes before the deadline, the Cincinnati Reds bolstered their rotation by getting Guzman from the Baltimore Orioles.

Then, the Chicago Cubs traded Mulholland and infielder Jose Hernandez to the Atlanta Braves for top pitching prospect Micah Bowie, another minor leaguer and a player to be named.

In another deal, the Boston Red Sox picked up pitcher Bryce Florie from the Detroit Tigers.

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Trades can still be made after the deadline, but players must first pass through waivers. That means any club can step in and block a potential deal.

Appier, 31, had been rumored in possible deals since spring training. The right-hander was 9-9 with a 4.87 earned-run average, and 114-89 in a career that began with the Royals in 1989.

“I’m glad, but I’m not saying that I hate Kansas City or the fans,” Appier said. “I’m going to miss them and it’s not like I’m going to leave the city.”

Oakland traded three young pitchers for Appier: Blake Stein, Jeff D’Amico and Brad Rigby. The Athletics, 3 1/2 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays in the wild-card race, also sent away the 37-year-old Taylor, who has 26 saves.

The Athletics recently traded pitcher Kenny Rogers to the Mets and also got pitcher Omar Olivares and infielder Randy Velarde from the Angels.

“When we made all these deals, we had a grand plan in mind,” A’s General Manager Billy Beane said. “One had to fall in order for the other to fall. This is a big deal.

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“We wanted to add to the present and future with every deal we did. Kevin has been a No. 1 and he brings a No. 1 mentality. . . . We weren’t supposed to be here in July. Now we’re trying to make our mark in this race.”

There had been talk the American League East-leading Yankees would send struggling starter Andy Pettitte to the Philadelphia Phillies. That didn’t happen, but they completed a deal for Leyritz.

“They could have traded me anywhere, but it shows the class of this organization to give me another opportunity back in New York,” Leyritz said. “Playing in New York for as many years as I did, it’s almost like being in the World Series every day. I thrived on it while I was there.”

Leyritz, 35, is hitting .239 with eight home runs and 21 runs batted in. He can play first base or designated hitter, and was Pettitte’s personal catcher when he was previously with the Yankees.

The Padres got minor-league pitcher Geraldo Padua for Leyritz.

Colorado and the Mets swapped center fielders and left-handed relievers. The Rockies also got pitcher Rigo Beltran and minor-league outfielder Thomas Johnson.

Hamilton, 34, was batting .303 with four homers and 24 RBIs. McElroy, 31, was 3-1 with a 6.20 ERA.

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Trading Places

* Kansas City traded right-hander Kevin Appier to Oakland for pitchers Blake Stein, Brad Rigby and Jeff D’Amico.

* Oakland traded pitcher Billy Taylor to the New York Mets for pitchers Jason Isringhausen and Greg McMichael.

* San Diego traded utilityman Jim Leyritz to the New York Yankees for minor league pitcher Geraldo Padua.

* Baltimore sent pitcher Juan Guzman and cash to Cincinnati for minor league pitchers B.J. Ryan and Jacobo Sequea.

* Chicago Cubs traded pitcher Terry Mulholland and infielder Jose Hernandez to Atlanta for three minor leaguers.

* St. Louis traded veteran infielder Shawon Dunston to the New York Mets for minor league infielder Craig Paquette.

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* The Mets sent Brian McRae and two players to Colorado for outfielder Darryl Hamilton and pitcher Chuck McElroy.

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