Phils acquire Lee as MLB trade winds picks up

Published 1:26 am Thursday, July 30, 2009

When Cliff Lee and Freddy Sanchez faced off during interleague play in June, they never could have imagined they’d see each other again this season.

Two big trades Wednesday ensured they will — this weekend, and with playoff implications.

Lee, the reigning AL Cy Young winner, was acquired by the NL East-leading Philadelphia Phillies in a deal with the foundering Cleveland Indians, bolstering their rotation for a run at a second straight World Series title.

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One player who wasn’t dealt two days before the non-waiver deadline was Roy Halladay. The Phillies pursued Lee after making a run at the Toronto Blue Jays’ six-time All-Star.

‘‘I’m going to miss all these guys here, but it’s an opportunity for me to help a team that’s in first place,’’ Lee said after the Indians lost to the Los Angeles Angels 9-3 in Anaheim, Calif. ‘‘They’re the defending world champions. So as far as that goes, I’m excited.’’

Sanchez, a second baseman, became the second starter traded by the salary-dumping Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday, switching clubhouses in San Francisco after the Giants beat the Pirates 1-0 to move ahead of Colorado for the NL wild-card lead.

‘‘It’s crazy,’’ said Sanchez, who’s unsure when he’ll make his Giants debut because of a knee injury. ‘‘I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s a little crazy, a little hectic. I’m here for a reason.’’

The Giants host the Phillies in a four-game series starting Thursday night. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he’ll probably make a decision about the rotation on the team’s plane ride.

In other trades Wednesday, the Pirates dumped two more of their highest-paid players, sending shortstop Jack Wilson and pitcher Ian Snell to the Seattle Mariners for shortstop Ronny Cedeno, Triple-A catcher Jeff Clement and three minor league pitchers.

The Mariners also acquired right-handed reliever Robert Manuel from the Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Wladimir Balentien.

In getting Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco from Cleveland, the Phils didn’t have to part with top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek, the 18th overall pick in the 2006 amateur draft.