CHICAGO The Chicago Cubs acquired pitcher Rich Harden from the Oakland Athletics in a six-player trade on Tuesday, a day after the rival Milwaukee Brewers landed CC Sabathia.
The Cubs received the right-handed Harden and righty Chad Gaudin for pitcher Sean Gallagher, outfielders Matt Murton and Eric Patterson, and minor leaguer Josh Donaldson.
"We've been working on Mr. Harden for a few weeks now," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said.
Harden, eligible to be a free agent after the 2009 season, is 5-1 with a 2.34 ERA in 13 starts this season. He's scheduled to receive $4.75 million this season.
The oft-injured righty missed a month earlier this season because of a right shoulder strain. It was his sixth trip to the disabled list in his six-year career.
The Cubs said they expected Harden would join the team today and that he'll pitch either Friday or Saturday night at Wrigley against the San Francisco Giants.
"This gives us another weapon," manager Lou Piniella said. "He'll fit in here really nice. Let's keep him healthy and pitching and go from there."
Hendry said the trade was not a reaction to the Sabathia trade by the Brewers, who were four games behind the NL Central-leading Cubs heading into Tuesday night.
"Our mode all year is we're trying to get better," he said.
Chicago also received Gaudin, who was 5-3 with a 3.59 ERA in 26 games including six starts. Last season, he was a starter all season and went 11-13 with a 4.42 ERA.
To land the pair, the Cubs had to part with Murton, a former top prospect who has yet to live up to his billing. In his fourth season, Murton has shuttled between Triple-A Iowa and Chicago. He's hitting .250 in 40 at-bats.
They also traded the right-handed Gallagher, who is 3-4 with a 4.45 ERA in 12 games, including 10 starts, in his second season.
Patterson, the brother of Corey Patterson, was sent to the minors on July 3, the fourth time this year he's been sent down. An outfielder who can also play second base, Patterson was hitting .237 with a homer and seven RBIs in 38 at-bats with the big league club.
Donaldson, a catcher for Class A Peoria, was hitting .217 with six homers.
"You're not getting a guy like this without it hurting a little bit," Hendry said.
Piniella said the trade should send a message to Cubs fans.
"This shows the Cubs are going to do everything in their power to get where we want to go."
FRANCOEUR REJOINS BRAVES: Jeff Francoeur rejoined the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium, a little humbled but in no way contrite regarding the harsh things he said when he was sent to the minors.
"I'm excited to be back and help this team," Francoeur said at his locker before batting practice. "Everything that's happened the last four days, I'm going to try to put behind me and move on because I don't think it's going to do any good to talk about it or think about it."
Francoeur, who played in every game for the Braves in 2006 and 2007, was demoted to Double-A Mississippi on Friday with a .234 batting average, eight homers and 41 RBIs in 85 games. General manager Frank Wren said he felt the 24-year-old needed some time to regain the stroke that enabled Francoeur to average 24 homers and 104 RBIs over the previous two seasons.
A-ROD LOSES ALL-STAR BONUSES: Alex Rodriguez's decision to opt out of his contract last October cost him $200,000 in All-Star bonuses from the New York Yankees this year.
Rodriguez's old deal, which he agreed to with Texas before the 2001 season, contained provisions that earned him $100,000 bonus for making the AL All-Star team and another $100,000 for receiving the most fan votes in his league.
His agent, Scott Boras, informed the Yankees during Game 4 of Boston's World Series sweep that A-Rod was terminating his $252 million, 10-year agreement. Then in December, Rodriguez signed a record $275 million, 10-year contract with New York, a deal that allows him to make up to $305 million if he reaches milestone achievements.
Toronto pitcher Roy Halladay earned the biggest All-Star bonus, $125,000, followed by Cleveland pitcher Cliff Lee at $100,000. A total of 42 of 63 players selected earned $1.92 million in bonuses, down from $2.13 for the initial picks last year.
OSWALT TO START FRIDAY: Houston Astros ace Roy Oswalt is on track to start Friday's game against the Washington Nationals after having his previous turn in the rotation skipped because of a nerve problem in his lower back.
Oswalt received a painkilling shot in the sciatic nerve in his lower back Saturday. Houston manager Cecil Cooper said the right-hander threw 35 to 40 pitches as part of a bullpen session Tuesday and emerged pain-free.
ORTIZ REPORTS NO PAIN: Red Sox slugger David Ortiz reported no pain Tuesday, a day after he took his first on-field batting practice since injuring a tendon in his left wrist almost six weeks ago.
Ortiz will continue to take batting practice with the team and work up to the point where he can test his wrist with a swing similar to the one he injured it on in the ninth inning on May 30 in Baltimore.
METS CHURCH PLACED ON DL AGAIN: Unable to fully recover from his second concussion this year, Mets right fielder Ryan Church was placed on the 15-day disabled list again Tuesday before New York's game against the San Francisco Giants.
The move puts Church's season in question and reopens a big hole in the Mets' depleted outfield. Oft-injured left fielder Moises Alou has been sidelined most of the year and is still trying to work his way back from a strained left calf.
BRAUN ADDED TO HR DERBY: Milwaukee's Ryan Braun was added Tuesday to the All-Star home run derby.
He will join Houston's Lance Berkman, Texas' Josh Hamilton, Cleveland's Grady Sizemore, Florida's Dan Uggla and Philadelphia's Chase Utley.
Two more players will be added to Monday's event at Yankee Stadium, where the All-Star game is to be played the following day.