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