Joe Thurston Traded to Yankee Organization

Joe Thurston has escaped at last but it was a catcher that Las Vegas had to scramble for in a couple of player moves made Friday.

Thurston, the onetime heir apparent to the Dodger second base job but who failed in that quest, was traded to the New York Yankees just before game time for that well-known mysteryman, the player to be named later. He'll report to the Yankees AAA farm team, Columbus, O. but views the move as one that might get him back to the big leagues where he has played sporadically for the Dodgers for bits and pieces of the last three seasons.

"When you're traded, it means somebody wants you," said Joe, who was batting .281-6-35. He had previously been offered his release after not making the Dodgers as a non-roster invitee in spring training but accepted the Las Vegas assignment after a talk with 51's manager Jerry Royster. In his four seasons with the 51's, Joe set franchise records for games (451), at-bats (1,699) and hits (516).

Delwyn Young, who was hitting .296-16-62 at Jacksonville has been promoted to take over second at Vegas. Tony Schrager filled in there Friday.

The trade of Thurston caused a general movement upwards of other prime second basemen in the system. With Young going to Las Vegas, Tony Abreu was promoted from Vero Beach to take over his slot at Jacksonville. Abreu, a 20-year-old Dominican, was leading the Florida State League in batting average (.330) and hits (129).

To replace Abreu in Vero Beach, Travis Denker has been sent up from Columbus. Denker, who will be 20 Aug. 5, was tied for fourth place in the South Atlantic League with 21 home runs. Batting .310, he had drawn 67 walks as well. During July he was hitting .426 with nine home runs.

It was a catcher that Vegas needed in a hurry, however, when it was discovered that Mike Nixon had suffered a concussion as a result of being hit with the backlash of a bat in Thursday's game. Dioner Navarro had already reported to Los Angeles and Mike Rose, who had been optioned back to Las Vegas, had yet to arrive. So, the 51's reached out to the nearest Dodger farm team, Ogden, for Juan Apodaca.

Thus, Apodaca, who just turned 19 a week ago and who was hitting .298 with 10 home runs for the Raptors, made the leap from a rookie league to AAA in one bound. He was in the lineup Saturday, going 0-4.