A's Dump Loaiza's Contract

Grabbing the opportunity to rid themselves of a heavy contract, the A's let right-hander Esteban Loaiza get claimed on waivers by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.

Esteban Loaiza signed a three-year, $21 million deal with Oakland before the 2006 season. He was sidelined until Aug. 22 this season with multiple injuries but turned in two impressive starts upon being activated from the disabled list.

It came as a shock to Loaiza, 35, who said he enjoyed being a part of the A's clubhouse and was looking forward to spending 2008 with the team.

"I never thought I was going to get (moved)," Loaiza said.

"I was thinking about being here for a long period of time. I didn't think this was going to happen, but it happened."

The A's are freed from the roughly $7.7 million Loaiza is still owed through 2008, though they still are paying $1 million from his signing bonus. They may try to use that cash to go after a pitcher in free agency this off-season, or perhaps a hitter to bolster a very inconsistent offense.

"We felt like it was an opportunity for some of the other guys in our organization to step forward," assistant general manager David Forst said.

"It gives us some flexibility and hopefully works out for Esteban. He's going to a team that's trying to win their division, and I'm sure he can help him this year and next year."

Other A's Notes:
--RHP Colby Lewis was recalled from Class AAA Sacramento to take Loaiza's place on the 25-man roster. Lewis was available in relief Wednesday, and he could be a candidate to start Sunday's game against Detroit, which would have been Loaiza's turn. Lewis was 0-2 with an 8.06 ERA in 19 games (one start) with Oakland earlier this season, but he's posted an 8-3 mark and a 1.88 ERA in 15 starts for Sacramento.

--OF Travis Buck is hoping to be activated from the disabled list when he's eligible Sunday, but he did not try running as planned Wednesday. Buck is recovering from a strained left hamstring, and it's not known if the change of plans Wednesday is much of a setback.

--OF Chris Denorfia, who was acquired from Cincinnati in April, is on a throwing program and taking batting practice with the A's. Denorfia is recovering from "Tommy John" surgery on his right arm and is aiming to be ready by the start of spring training.

--RHP Huston Street gave up two solo homers in the ninth inning Wednesday to let a 4-2 lead over Toronto evaporate. It was the first time in Street's career he's allowed two homers in a game, and it was his first blown save since returning to the closer's role on Aug. 15.

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