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Braves Add Wickman to Struggling Bullpen

From the Associated Press

Sensing a playoff surge, the Atlanta Braves traded for proven closer Bob Wickman, sending a minor leaguer to the Cleveland Indians on Thursday to address a lingering weakness.

Wickman, 37, has been successful on 15 of 18 save chances this season, and tied for the American League lead last year with 45 saves. To get him, Atlanta traded Class-A catcher Max Ramirez.

The right-handed Wickman is 1-4 with a 4.18 earned-run average in 29 games.

Atlanta relievers have a 4.73 ERA and have blown 20 of 40 save opportunities. Chris Reitsma, sidelined for the season following elbow surgery, Jorge Sosa and Kenny Ray have been used as the closer.

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Boston Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield has a broken rib and is expected to spend at least three weeks on the disabled list, Manager Terry Francona said.

Francona said Wakefield doesn’t remember how he injured himself.

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The Chicago White Sox released right-hander Cliff Politte.

Politte lost his spot in the bullpen when Chicago recalled right-hander Sean Tracey from triple-A Charlotte on Sunday.

Politte was 2-2 with a 8.70 ERA in 30 games this season.

Last year, he was 7-1 with a 2.00 ERA in 68 games.

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The Washington Nationals placed right fielder Jose Guillen on the 15-day disabled list because of a sore right elbow.

Meanwhile, the District of Columbia is in default on its lease agreement with Major League Baseball on a new ballpark for the Nationals, league officials alleged in a letter to the city.

MLB attorney Tom Ostertag accused the city of failing to meet 11 specific provisions called for in the agreement.

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Ostertag urged “that these failures be corrected” in a letter obtained by the Washington Post.

Vince Morris, a spokesman for Washington Mayor Anthony Williams, said that “fans should not be worried” about the league’s complaints.

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San Diego Padres bench coach Tony Muser was suspended for one game and fined for his part in Sunday’s argument over a checked-swing call.

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Muser and Padres Manager Bruce Bochy were ejected in the sixth inning after third-base umpire Ed Hickox ruled that Atlanta’s Chipper Jones didn’t swing.

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New York Mets minor league pitcher Timothy Haines was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, Major League Baseball announced.


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