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Archive for Thursday, July 24, 2003

Orosco’s career takes bizarre detour

After being traded by Padres to Yankees — and taking wrong flight — reliever finally arrives in New York

July 24, 2003

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— Jesse Orosco's career path took an unexpected detour.

Traded from San Diego to the New York Yankees Tuesday night, the 46-year-old reliever was in a hurry to join his new team. So he left the West Coast and boarded a plane headed toward Baltimore.

Unfortunately for him, the Yankees' series opener against the Orioles Wednesday night was in New York, not Camden Yards.

Orosco was rerouted once he got to Nashville, Tenn., and made it to Yankee Stadium in the sixth inning.

"Just flying around. Long journey," the lefty said. "There was a mix-up on something, but it worked out."

Said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman: "We were able to sidetrack him."

Orosco's agent, Alan Meersand, said the pitcher called him in the morning and said, "I'm at the San Diego airport and I'm going to Baltimore."

"Had I been at my desk, I would have been able to look at my schedule, but I was in my car," Meersand said. "I figured he knew where he was going."

The Padres, meanwhile, insisted they made no mistake in setting Orosco's travel arrangements.

New York Yankees pitcher Jesse Orosco waves to the crowd after the
Yankees' game. New York defeated Baltimore, 4-2, Wednesday at
Yankee Stadium in New York. Orosco was traded Tuesday to the
Yankees.

New York Yankees pitcher Jesse Orosco waves to the crowd after the Yankees' game. New York defeated Baltimore, 4-2, Wednesday at Yankee Stadium in New York. Orosco was traded Tuesday to the Yankees.

No matter, Orosco pulled up to the ballpark in a taxi in the middle of the Yankees' 4-2 win over the Orioles and asked a guard what uniform number he had been assigned.

Told it was 47, his regular number, Orosco said "All right!" and then gave the guard a hug.

Orosco quickly changed into his uniform and already was out in the bullpen by the end of the sixth, greeting Armando Benitez and his other new teammates. Orosco threw briefly in the eighth inning on his own, just to get loose.

"I'm tickled to be here," he said. "You don't know how many more chances you're going to get to be in a pennant race. They say experience goes a long way and I guess that's the case. I never imagined going this far."

Orosco has built a 24-year career out of pitching in the bullpen. The oldest player in the majors is joining his eighth big-league team, giving the Yankees another left-handed option in relief.

The AL East-leading Yankees got Orosco for a player to be named. New York will pay just $111,475 to Orosco -- a prorated share of the $300,000 minimum -- with the last-place Padres paying the remainder of his $800,000 salary.

Orosco is 1-1 with a 7.56 ERA in 42 games this season. He converted two of three save chances and has held left-handed batters to a .228 average (13-for-57).

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