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Reds Pick up Ramon Ortiz


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CINCINNATI -- A weekend in Anaheim apparently in search of a reliever netted the Reds a starter from the local big league club.

General manager Dan O'Brien announced Tuesday that Cincinnati had acquired right-hander Ramon Ortiz from the Angels in exchange for Reds minor league pitcher Dustin Moseley.

Ortiz, 31, pitched in 34 games for the Angels in 2004, but was not happy that only 14 of those appearances were starts. He got off to a rough start, going 1-3 with a 9.28 ERA in April, and was moved to the bullpen, where he pitched well.

But his slow start to the season was only one factor in the decision to move Ortiz to the 'pen. The Angels came into the season with six quality starters, and the team felt he was the best fit for the rigors of relief work.

Still, Ortiz made it clear that he believed his place was in the starting rotation and he made quite a statement in his first start after the demotion, outdueling Roger Clemens on June 19 in Houston with six scoreless innings to hand the eventual NL Cy Young winner his second loss of the season.

In Cincinnati, the fiery Dominican will have an opportunity to join Paul Wilson in the starting rotation and brings valuable postseason experience with him, having been a key member of the 2002 Angels World Championship club. The move to the National League could work in his favor as well, since batters will not be as familiar with the career Angel, and the absence of the designated hitter won't hurt either.

As a starter, Ortiz went 4-5 with a 5.47 ERA in 2004 (5-7, 4.43 overall). His best year was the 2002 championship campaign, when he went 15-9 with a 3.77 ERA in 32 games (all starts) with a career-high 162 strikeouts. He won both of his postseason starts, including Game 3 of the 2002 World Series. Ortiz won 16 games in 2003 and in his career, he has gone 59-49 with a 4.60 ERA.

Sometimes compared to former Reds starter Mario Soto, Ortiz's main weapon is a sinking, mid-90s two-seamer, which he complements with a slurve and an increasingly effective 85-mph changeup. He gets emotional on the mound, which does not always work to his advantage, but he generally has good command.

The Angels declined to exercise the $5.5 million option on Ortiz's 2005 contract and did not offer him arbitration. The Reds will either have to come to an agreement with Ortiz or go to arbitration.

Moseley, a 22-year-old right-hander and supplemental first-round pick for the Reds in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft, was a combined 5-6 with a 3.86 ERA in 20 starts between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville last season.

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It's good to see that the Reds will actually go after a decent pitcher. I think Ortiz can put up some good numbers. I hope he will be a sold number 2 or 3 starter. Plus it's about time we went after a decent starting pitcher, hopefully he turns out well next year.

Hopefully it doesn't turn into another Ryan Dempster type of pick-up. Hopefully in the beginning, very disappointing in the end.

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