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Adam Laroche

Adam Laroche

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PITTSBURGH — The Red Sox are hoping this latest trade for Pittsburgh's leading power hitter turns out as well as last season's.The Red Sox acquired slumping first baseman Adam LaRoche on Wednesday for two midlevel prospects, less than one year after they picked up All-Star outfielder Jason Bay from the Pirates."I'm grateful for the opportunity that a team like that wants me," said LaRoche, who is hitting .109 since July 4.The Pirates, who have traded five starting position players since last July, will receive Double-A shortstop Argenis Diaz and Class-A right-hander Hunter Strickland, an 18th-round draft pick two years ago.The deal possibly clears the way for Pittsburgh to deal shortstop Jack Wilson before the July 31 deadline for trading without waivers, and, maybe, NL All-Star second baseman Freddy Sanchez.The Red Sox lost their fourth consecutive game Tuesday night to fall out of first place in the AL East, a game behind the New York Yankees.

Boston was pursuing Toronto starter Roy Halladay, but a bat turned into the bigger priority for a team that is hitting .236 since June 17 and has scored 12 runs in five games since the All-Star break."We've been in the market for a player who can do some damage against right-handed pitching and help our depth at the corner infield," Red Sox GM Theo Epstein said in a conference call.

"This was a chance to get at a very reasonable acquisition cost a player that ...

leaves us in condition to look for more impact before the trading deadline."The trade was first reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on its Web site.LaRoche, eligible for free agency after this season, is hitting .247 with 12 homers, 40 RBIs and 81 strikeouts in 87 games.

He is 5 for 46 the last 2½ weeks — 0 for 22 at one point — with one RBI and 16 strikeouts."Not real good, not real good," LaRoche said of his time in Pittsburgh.

"Looking back, I'm a little disappointed because I know what I'm capable of doing and what I should be doing, but I wasn't able to put it together over a six-month season.

I was too streaky."LaRoche may take some at-bats away from utility backup Mark Kotsay while giving third baseman Mike Lowell more time to rest his ailing hip.The Pirates will recall Steve Pearce from Triple-A Indianapolis and plan to play him regularly at first starting Thursday at Arizona.

He was 1 for 12 during a brief callup earlier this season.The 29-year-old LaRoche was expected to supply a much-needed left-handed power bat when the Pirates dealt left-handed reliever Mike Gonzalez to Atlanta for him in January 2007, but he hasn't hit better than .272 in two-plus seasons and got off to poor starts in 2007 and 2008.LaRoche hit 32 homers for Atlanta in 2006, but his best season with Pittsburgh was 25 homers and 85 RBIs a year ago.

He signed a $7.05 million contract this season to avoid arbitration, and the Red Sox will pick up all of estimated $3 million still owed him."Why it didn't work here? At times, he was very good and at times it was a struggle," Pirates GM Neal Huntington said.

"He didn't show a lot of energy, didn't show a lot of passion and fire, but this was a guy who cared a lot and did a lot of good things for us in the clubhouse."The Red Sox hope they're adding a bat who can complement Bay, who went into Wednesday's games with 72 RBIs, third most in the AL.

The Pirates, by contrast, have gotten little out of the July 31, 2008, deal that was highlighted by Manny Ramirez going from Boston to the Dodgers; one of their pickups, younger brother Andy LaRoche, has four homers and 36 RBIs as their third baseman.Diaz, a 22-year-old known for his outstanding defense, is hitting .253 with no homers and 24 RBIs in 76 games during his sixth pro season, at Portland.

He will move up to Indianapolis, where he becomes Wilson's heir apparent.Strickland, 20, is 5-4 with a 3.35 ERA in 18 games, including 12 starts, at Greenville of the South Atlantic League.

He will shift to West Virginia of the same league.American LeagueCrede out with injured shoulderOAKLAND, Calif.

— Minnesota Twins third baseman Joe Crede is out of the starting lineup Wednesday because of an injured right shoulder.Manager Ron Gardenhire says Crede will see Dr.

Lewis Yocum on Thursday morning in Southern California before the team starts a series against the Los Angeles Angels.

Gardenhire says the team won't know more about the injury until then.Crede had two doubles for Minnesota on Tuesday night.

He had missed the previous two games because of the injury.

Crede first hurt the shoulder making a diving catch Friday at Texas.

He started Saturday's game before leaving when he felt tingling in his right hand.National LeagueHelton hits 500th career doubleDENVER — Todd Helton has become the 50th player to hit 500 doubles, driving one off the right-field scoreboard in the third inning of Colorado's game Wednesday against Arizona.The Rockies first baseman received an ovation and the game was halted briefly as a team employee ran out to remove the bag as a memento.

Helton's hit off Jon Garland drove in Seth Smith.Helton is the 19th player in major league history to have 500 or more doubles with the same team and the 16th left-handed hitter overall to reach the mark.It was the second major milestone for Helton this season.

May 19 at Atlanta, he singled to become the 255th big league player with 2,000 hits.He got his 800th extra-base hit, 1,000th walk and 1,100th RBI last season.ElsewhereMattingly's son accused of spitting in mom's faceEVANSVILLE, Ind.

— The son of former New York Yankees star first baseman Don Mattingly has been arrested on charges of shoving his mother and spitting in her face.The Evansville Courier & Press reported Wednesday that Taylor Mattingly faces preliminary charges of battery, battery by bodily waste and criminal mischief.

The newspaper says he was discharged late Tuesday from Vanderburgh County Jail on $250 bond.Authorities say Mattingly admitted confronting his mother, Kim Mattingly, after she had sent him a text message insulting him, his girlfriend and his father.

Sheriff's Deputy Nathan Espenlaub wrote in an affidavit that Mattingly admitted he pushed his mother down and spit on her.Mattingly, whose father is batting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, was drafted by the Yankees in the 42nd round in 2003.Canseco set for bout against Wing Bowl champPHILADELPHIA — Jose Canseco is hungry for another shot at winning a celebrity boxing bout.Yet he may not be as famished as his next opponent in this bizarre form of sports entertainment, a man who also knows how to dig in at the plate.It's the former American League MVP vs.

Bill "El Wingador" Simmons, a five-time champion of Philadelphia's famed Wing Bowl.Both have an appetite for victory."Hopefully he doesn't start eating my hand or something," Canseco said.Canseco is 0 for 2 in recording a victory on promoter Damon Feldman's wild and wacky cards.

He lost last year to former Philadelphia Eagle Vai Sikahema, and finished with a majority draw against one-time child star Danny Bonaduce of "The Partridge Family" in January."I was definitely taking it easy on Danny," Canseco said.

"I just used my height and weight on him.

I'm not out there to hurt anybody.

In the Vai Sikahema fight, he was out there to hurt me and I didn't realize it until too late."Canseco, stigmatized for two tell-all books about steroids in baseball, will fight Simmons on Friday night at an ice skating rink in Aston, Pa.Simmons ate his way into Philadelphia sports cult status with a record five Wing Bowl titles.

Wing Bowl is a chicken wing eating contest that has earned a barbecue-stained spot on Philly's sports calendar as an annual decadent display of binge eating.

Simmons won the last of his five stomatch-stretching titles in 2005.Perhaps the tagline for this main event should be: "One was juiced, the other was sauced."This is Canseco's first return to the ring since he was knocked out by South Korean super heavyweight Hong Man Choi just 1 minute, 17 seconds into the first round in a mixed martial arts match in May in Japan.

Canseco said he's over a knee injury that hindered his MMA debut, and he hired a team of trainers to whip him into shape for Simmons.

The exhibition features only three, 1-minute rounds.El Wingador's biggest bout has been with indigestion.Canseco, a former Rookie of the Year who hit 462 career home runs, said he is still considering filing a class-action lawsuit against Major League Baseball and the players' association.

He says he's been ostracized for going public with tales of steroids use in the sport."As more and more information comes out, and I'm proven more and more right, the public really realizes that baseball did blackball me," Canseco said.

"There was a huge conspiracy involved.

I paid the ultimate price.

If they were going to get rid of every player that used steroids, there would be no game."Canseco is the featured attraction on a card that also includes ...

Ray Leonard!OK, not Sugar Ray Leonard.

It's Ray Leonard Jr., who claims he's still recognized every day because of a 7 Up commercial he filmed with his famous father in 1980.

He'll slug it out with local actor Joe Parkinson."I feel like I'm ready to have my coming out party," Leonard said.The youngest Leonard, who bills himself as Rayzor Ray Leonard, said he didn't pursue a career in professional boxing because of the pressure of following in his father's path.

Sugar Ray won't be part of his son's entourage, but did offer some tips."Of course, he's a purist," Leonard Jr.


"He doesn't want me to go in there and get my head knocked off."-- Dan Gelston
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