Notes: A's trade Cruz for Halsey

Notes: A's trade Cruz for Halsey

PHOENIX -- Righty Juan Cruz has pitched like a legitimate big leaguer this spring, working 10 1/3 scoreless innings, but he stood virtually no chance of making Oakland's big-league roster and everyone knew it.

Now he's got a shot at making Arizona's big-league roster. Cruz, 27, was traded to the Diamondbacks on Sunday in exchange for lefty starter Brad Halsey.

"We wanted to give Juan an opportunity," said A's general manager Billy Beane. "He's pitched very well this spring, and we wanted to give him an opportunity to pitch at the Major League level. I actually think this is a great situation for him, with a club that is trying to develop some starters."

Cruz, acquired from Atlanta in the December 2004 trade that sent Tim Hudson to the Braves, struggled in a relief role for the A's in 2005, posting an 8.49 ERA in 21 appearances before being sent to Triple-A Sacramento, where he went 5-1 with a 2.40 ERA as a starter.

"I feel pretty good," Cruz said while packing his things. "I think [Arizona] asked about me because I'll have the chance [to make the team]. I've been working hard to be in the Majors, not in the Minors, so I appreciate [the A's] trading me."

Halsey, 25, was sent to the Diamondbacks last January as part of the Randy Johnson deal with the Yankees and won the fifth spot in Arizona's rotation for his first full season in the bigs. He went 8-12 with a 4.61 ERA and lost his spot in the rotation in September, and he was 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA in four Cactus League appearances for Arizona this spring.

"I don't know what the situation [in Oakland] is," Halsey said. "I mean, you have to make your own opportunities no matter what. I'm going to have to pitch well. I haven't been pitching well here."

Halsey, an eighth-round pick in 2002 who went 34-14 over three years in the Yankees organization, likely will start the season as part of Sacramento's rotation. He has two options remaining and won't be eligible for arbitration for at least two years.

"He's a young starter who pitched very well for two or three seasons [in the Minors]," Beane said. "He's had some success."

Dandy Dan: Dan Haren, whose efficient 81-pitch outing over six shutout innings in Oakland's 3-1 victory Sunday lowered his ERA over his past four starts to 1.89 (four runs, 19 innings), suggested that experience and maturity helped him get through a day on which his arm felt "dead."

"Last year I panicked when that happened," he admitted.

On Sunday, he just kept plugging away. Macha said Haren threw three changeups -- the A's are encouraging him to develop the pitch -- and got an out with one of them, and Haren said his curveball was particularly effective.

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Haren had to ditch his deuce for a couple of starts after gouging himself in the thumb with his index finger while throwing it, and Sunday was the first time since then that he's thrown more than a few.

"My curveball was good, which it hasn't been," Haren said. "I'm definitely ready to go."

Dribblers: Macha said infielder Antonio Perez, out since being hit in the head by a foul ball that bounced off home plate last Thursday, will be out for a couple of more days. ... Righty Chad Gaudin, who was 1-0 with a 7.43 ERA in six spring appearances (three starts), was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday morning. After the game, the A's announced that lefty John Rheinecker, catcher Jeremy Brown, infielder Mike Rouse and outfielders Charles Thomas and Matt Watson also had been optioned out of camp. Among them, Watson was having the best spring; he batted .303 (10-for-33) with a .425 on-base percentage in 17 games. ... Actor James Denton of "Desperate Housewives" fame threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Flavor Flav, apparently, was not available.

Coming up: Righty Esteban Loaiza will make his final spring start in Arizona on Monday when the A's travel to Tucson for a 12:05 p.m. PT game against the Diamondbacks, who will counter with righty Miguel Batista.

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.