Dodgers Trade Plummer For Shortstop

VERO BEACH, Fla- The Dodgers reached into the wealth of pitchers that they have on the minor league level to fill the shortstop void that had existed at Las Vegas as they traded righthander Jarod Plummer to Kansas City for infielder Wilson Valdez, Saturday. In other player moves, they completed the Danys Baez trade with Tampa Bay and released two position players from the minor league camp.

Although, they have several promising infielders at Las Vegas, there was no pure shortstop on the roster, hence the deal for Valdez, who spent half of last season in the American League with Seattle where he hit only .198-0-8. The rest of the year he played in the Pacific Coast League: 50 games for Portland and one for Tacoma, combining for a .239-1-16 mark as well as a nine-game stint with San Diego where he was .231-0-1.

A 27-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, he was originally signed by Montreal in 1997 before being claimed on waivers by the Marlins in 2002. They, in turn, traded him to the White Sox in the Billy Koch deal in 2004 and he made his major league debut with Chicago later that summer, playing in 19 games with a .233-1-4 mark.

Obviously more a glove man than a hitter, Valdez may face competition for playing time at short for Vegas if L.A. sends Oscar Robles down, a move being contemplated at this time.

The 22-year-old Plummer's career has been held back more by arm problems than promise for he's displayed that at times in and around elbow injuries. A 26th round draft choice from South Garland, Tex., High School in 2002, he spent 2005 shuttling between three teams, the Gulf Coast Dodgers (0-0, 4.50 in just one game), Columbus (3-2, 4.14) and Vero Beach (1-1, 3.20)

In his four years in the system, he alternated between starting and relief work.

Tampa Bay owed the Dodgers a player in the trade which sent Chuck Tiffany and Edwin Jackson to the Devil Rays for Baez and Lance Carter so to complete that deal, the Dodgers accepted 24-year-old shortstop Ryder Mathias, who hit .236-3-22 for Hudson Valley in the NYP League in 2005. He will report to the extended spring camp.

Also, the Dodgers released first baseman Dan Batz and infielder Matt Paul from the minor league camp as decisions on rosters for the upcoming season are being made over the weekend.

The release of Batz was something of a surprise for he had hit .335 for Ogden in 2004 after being drafted in the sixth round that year out of Rhode Island University, and followed that by hitting .280 for Columbus last season. However, he didn't display the desired power of a first baseman, totaling only seven home runs in his two seasons, and, further, found his way up to Vero Beach blocked when it was decided to keep Cory Dunlap there for another year.

Paul, the older brother of outfielder Xavier, was an 18th round selection out of Southern University in 2004 but managed only a .194 average over two seasons, and never achieved regular status during that time.