PHOENIX — Adam Dunn had no idea the Cincinnati Reds were about to trade him to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday.
But with longtime teammate Ken Griffey Jr. already gone and the Reds on a six-game losing streak, Dunn didn't mind packing his bags and heading West.
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”It was one of those pleasant surprises,“ the slugger said on a conference call. ”To come off the terrible month that we had in Cincinnati, and you get a phone call today saying you're being traded to a first-place team. As a player, that's all you could ask for.“
Dunn, who was tied for the big-league lead in homers, could boost an Arizona offense that was ranked 20th in the majors in runs scored. The Diamondbacks (60-58) entered the day with a 1½ -game lead in the NL West over the Los Angeles Dodgers, who recently traded for Manny Ramirez.
Arizona sent minor-league right-hander Dallas Buck to Cincinnati (52-67) along with two players to be named. The 23-year-old Buck was 1-4 with a 3.94 ERA at Class-A South Bend.
Dunn, 28, was batting .233 for the Reds with 32 home runs and 74 RBI. He has a good eye at the plate (80 walks) but also has 120 strikeouts on the year.
Dunn has a .247 career batting average with 270 homers and is eligible for free agency at the end of the season.
Arizona tried to acquire Mark Teixeira from the Atlanta Braves at last month's trade deadline before he went to the Los Angeles Angels.
Dunn had played his entire career with the Reds and is nearing the end of an $18.5 million contract. He spoke with Arizona Manager Bob Melvin but isn't sure what role he'll fill.
”I'll do whatever,“ Dunn said. ”If they want me to catch, I'll catch.“
On July 31, Cincinnati sent Griffey to the Chicago White Sox for reliever Nick Masset and a Triple-A player. On Sunday, the Reds designated veteran catcher David Ross for assignment and called up catcher Ryan Hanigan from Triple-A Louisville.
Reds Manager Dusty Baker, whose team has lost nine of 10 games since the Griffey trade, said he'll miss having Dunn on the club.
”It's tougher to lose a good guy, you know, than the 40-home run guy,“ Baker said. ”It's going to be tough to replace his offense, but it's even tougher to replace the man.“
Three minor-leaguers suspended
Three Reds minor-leaguers were suspended 50 games each Monday after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
All three players were part of the Reds' Dominican summer-league teams. Pitchers Jonathan Correa and Elvin Silvestre were penalized for using Boldenone and outfielder Cesar Colmenares tested positive for Nandrolone.
A total of 20 minor-leaguers have 50-game bans since July 25. All but one tested positive in the Dominican and Venezuelan summer leagues.