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Arizona signs Estes, trades IF Hillenbrand



Published: Thu, January 13, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Diamondbacks are restructuring after sending Randy Johnson to Yankees.

NEW YORK (AP) -- The retooling Arizona Diamondbacks made two more deals Wednesday, finalizing a contract with pitcher Shawn Estes and trading infielder Shea Hillenbrand to Toronto.

Arizona's moves came one day after it sent Randy Johnson to the New York Yankees and acquired Shawn Green and Javier Vazquez in separate trades.

Estes turned down a two-year offer for more money from the Washington Nationals. He and his wife, Heather, and their sons, 16-month-old Jackson and 3-month-old Cody, live in Paradise Valley, about a 20-minute drive to Bank One Ballpark.

"I was single for a long time in the big leagues, and playing with guys that had children I saw how hard it was for them to be away," Estes said.

He becomes the third new starting pitcher on a Diamondbacks roster that has been dramatically overhauled after the team lost 111 games last season. Arizona also signed free agent Russ Ortiz.

Peace in the desert

Estes, 31, was 15-8 with a 5.84 ERA in a career-high 34 starts for the Colorado Rockies last season.

"I rededicated myself physically," he said. "I knew I was going to have to prove myself again and kind of reinvent myself."

Hillenbrand, acquired from Boston in May 2003, hit a team-high .310 for the Diamondbacks last season with 15 home runs and 80 RBIs. A third baseman most of his career, he played first last season for Arizona.

Oakland also added a pitcher, agreeing to a $1 million, one-year contract with Keiichi Yabu. The 36-year-old right-hander played 11 seasons with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan and went 6-9 with a 3.02 ERA in 19 games last season.

"He's had a lot of success in Japan," Athletics general manager Billy Beane said. "We found with a lot of the recent guys who came over, you can really translate their performance in Japan to the United States. He also had a strong interest in coming to Oakland. He's a four-pitch guy with good command."

Rest of the league

Houston agreed to a minor league contract with right-hander Turk Wendell, and Tampa Bay agreed to a minor league deal with left-hander Mark Guthrie. Late Monday, San Diego finalized its $750,000, one-year deal with left-hander Chris Hammond.

All-Star catcher Paul LoDuca, eligible for salary arbitration, agreed to an $18 million, three-year contract with the Florida Marlins, and three players agreed to one-year deals: Seattle right-hander Gil Meche ($2,535,000), Pittsburgh right-hander Brian Meadows ($1,125,000) and Boston infielder Ramon Vazquez ($700,000). Ninety-five players remain eligible to file for arbitration by Friday's deadline.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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