Baseball

Blue Jays deal Eckstein to Diamondbacks

The Toronto Blue Jays traded veteran shortstop David Eckstein to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday for minor-league pitcher Chad Beck.

The Toronto Blue Jays traded shortstop David Eckstein to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday for minor-league pitcher Chad Beck.

The Jays announced the move after Eckstein went 2-for-4 with an RBI as the designated hitter in a 6-2 win at Yankee Stadium in New York.

The 33-year-old was hitting .277 with one home run and 23 RBIs in 77 games this year for the Blue Jays, who signed him to a one-year, $4.5-million contract in the off-season.

"I'm definitely very excited with the opportunity to go out there and make the post-season," Eckstein said after Sunday's game. "You play this game to win a world championship, so that's hopefully what we'll be able to try to accomplish."

Eckstein already has two World Series rings — 2002 with the Los Angeles Angels and 2006, when he was the series MVP with the St. Louis Cardinals.

He began the year as Toronto's starting shortstop under former manager John Gibbons.

But the diminutive veteran's defensive shortcomings led to a decreased role under Cito Gaston, who favoured gloveman John McDonald and Marco Scutaro after taking over the Jays bench in late June.

Beck, 23, was originally drafted by the Blue Jays in 2004, but the club didn't sign him and he was later taken by Arizona in 2006.

The right-hander is 3.67 ERA in 32 games — 15 starts — this season, which he's split between low and high Class A.

"Our scouts like his arm," said J.P. Ricciardi, the Toronto general manager. "They said, 'Good fastball.' He's got pretty good strikeout numbers.

"We just feel fortunate that we were able to get a decent guy we liked."

NL West-leading Arizona was searching for infield depth ahead of Sunday's deadline for finalizing post-season rosters. The Diamondbacks lost second baseman Orlando Hudson to a season-ending wrist injury in early August.

The AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels, with whom Eckstein won the first of his two World Series titles in 2002, were also rumoured to be interested in the shortstop's services.

Sunday's deal was the second in as many days involving a veteran Blue Jay. On Saturday, Toronto completed a deal to send Fredericton's Matt Stairs to the Philadelphia Phillies.

With files from the Canadian Press