Dunn's Promotion Hastened by Trade

Associated Press

The Cincinnati Reds made a trade to clear room for their top prospect Thursday, sending outfielder Alex Ochoa to the Colorado Rockies for second baseman Todd Walker and a minor leaguer.

The deal between last-place teams gave the Rockies another versatile outfielder and gave the Reds a chance to bring up Adam Dunn, their most highly regarded prospect in years.

He was promoted from triple-A Louisville and will start in left field.

"We wanted to get on with our future now," General Manager Jim Bowden said. "Dunn should have been here a month ago. Dunn couldn't be here until we moved an outfielder."

Dunn, 21, hit .334 with 32 homers and 84 runs batted in in 94 games this year at double-A Chattanooga and Louisville. He was the most valuable player of the triple-A All-Star game at Indianapolis, where he hit two home runs.

The 6-foot-6, 240-pound outfielder was a second-round draft pick in 1998. He chose baseball over playing quarterback at Texas, and emerged this year as one of the top power hitters in the minors.

With only two innings under his belt in the minor leagues, John Smoltz is ready to rejoin the Atlanta Braves.

Only this time, he's coming back as a reliever.

Smoltz felt so good after consecutive appearances in Greenville, S.C., that he scuttled plans to pitch again today for the double-A team.

The Braves are hoping to activate him for Sunday's game against the Montreal Expos.

Smoltz sat out last season after Tommy John elbow surgery and managed only five starts this year before going back on the disabled list. Convinced he doesn't have enough arm strength to make it back as a starter, Smoltz decided he would be more help to the Braves in the bullpen.

Qualcomm Stadium's big bangs weren't as bad as originally feared.

Two explosions in the light tower above left field in the 34-year-old stadium Wednesday night darkened a bank of lights and forced the suspension of San Diego's game against Arizona.

Stadium manager Bill Wilson originally thought a 12,000-volt transformer had blown, which would have been bad news for the Padres and the city of San Diego. It could have taken more than a week to replace and would have forced the Padres to play day games today and Saturday instead of at night, when they draw bigger crowds.

But it turned out that a circuit breaker absorbed a short and saved the transformer. Electricians worked Thursday through the resumed game and the regularly scheduled game--which the teams split--and had the lights back on by Thursday evening. "We have 12,000 volts, the fuses are holding up and we're on for 7:05 [tonight]," Wilson said.

Pitcher Chuck Finley of the Cleveland Indians, who saw a specialist this week to check out his sore neck and left shoulder, still has no target date for his return from the disabled list.

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