Dodgers claim Loaiza from Oakland

The Dodgers, searching for starting pitching, have claimed righthander Esteban Loaiza off waivers from Oakland, assuming more than $8 million of his guaranteed salary.

Loaiza, a two-time All-Star, had made only two starts after missing the first 4½ months of the season because of three different injuries. He allowed just three earned runs in 14.2 innings in the two starts and gives the Dodgers' depleted rotation a boost for the stretch run.
Esteban Antonio Loaiza   6-4  190  Br  Tr
Born- December 31, 1971 in Tijuana, Mexico

year   team      w-l   era   g   gs   in   h   bb   so   
1995    Pitt     8-9   5.16  32  31  173  205  55   85  
1996	Pitt	 1-3   4.96  10  10   53   65  19   32 
1997 	Pitt	11-11  4.13  33  32  197  214  56  122
1998 	Pit/Tx   9-11  5.16  35  28  171  199  52  108
1999	Tex	 9-5   4.56  30  15  121  128  40   77
2000	Tx/Tor	10-13  4.56  34  31  199  228  57  113
2001	Tor     11-11  5.02  36  30  190  239  40  110
2002	Tor     9-10   5.71  25  25  151  192  38   87
2003	CHiSx	21-9   2.90  34  34  226  196  56  207
2004	Chi/NY	10-7   5.70  31  27  183  217  71  117
2005	Wash	12-10  3.77  34  34  217  227  55  173
2006	Oak     11-9   4.89  26  26  155  179  40   97
2007	Oak      1-0   1.84   2   2   15   10   4    5
Loaiza will join the Dodgers for their weekend series in San Diego. Los Angeles began the day 4½ games behind Arizona in the NL West and 3½ games behind San Diego in the wild-card race.

"I've been there before, with the Yankees and with this team last year," Loaiza said of his postseason experience. "I know what it takes to win."

The Native of Tijuana has been hampered by neck and knee injuries that have limited him to two starts this season. But the right-hander pitched brilliantly in both recent outings, holding Toronto to one run and three hits in 7.2 innings in the first one and giving up two runs and seven hits in seven innings against the Blue Jays at home the second time.

Loaiza, who will join the Dodgers on Friday in San Diego, is expected to replace left-hander Eric Stults in the rotation for the stretch run.

"He gives us another guy in the rotation," said General Manager Ned Colletti, who has added two former All-Star pitchers in Loaiza and David Wells in the last five days. "At this stage, you're looking for someone to give the team a lift. He's an accomplished starter."

But the move clearly is geared to what Loaiza, who is owed $7 million in 2008 in the final year of a three-year contract, can give the team next season.

"The projected free-agent market is not overly strong or deep," Colletti said. "It gives us another starter going into next season that we won't have to shop for on the market.

"At this time of the year, we're looking for any way to improve the team and Esteban is a talented veteran who we hope can contribute down the stretch and next season. He has a history of winning games and right now that's what's most important to our team."

With Jason Schmidt, Brad Penny and Derek Lowe all signed for next season, Loaiza figures to go to spring training as the team's fourth starter. That means the Dodgers may not negoitate with left-hander Randy Wolf, who won nine of 15 decisions but has been sidelined for the last seven weeks with shoulder problems.

Loaiza also has been troubled with injuries, making only 28 starts in the last two seasons. But he won 10 or more games in six of the seven seasons before 2007, topped by a 21-9 record and a 2.90 ERA for the White Sox in 2003, when he was named to start the All-Star game.

The Dodgers assume the $1.17 million Loaiza is owed for the rest of this season, as well as his $6.5 million salary for 2008. Loaiza, 35, also has a $7.5 million club option for 2009 with a $375,000 buyout. Oakland still owes Loaiza $1 million from his signing bonus.

"If you're not willing to take a risk, you're never going to do anything," Colletti said.

The 35-year-old Loaiza is 124-108 with a 4.60 ERA in 362 career games for the Pirates, Rangers, Blue Jays, White Sox, Yankees, Nationals and Athletics. To make room for Loaiza on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers transferred outfielder Jason Repko to the 60-day disabled list.

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