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AL West-leading Rangers lure Dempster

Cubs deal star pitcher from B.C

Weeks of conversations Texas Rangers brass held with other teams about their starting pitchers produced next to nothing.

The final 10 minutes before the annual nonwaiver trade deadline, though, produced a muchneeded veteran arm to rejuvenate an ailing rotation for the stretch run.

B.C. native Ryan Dempster was acquired from the Chicago Cubs just before the deadline Tuesday for a pair of low-level prospects. He will make his Rangers debut Thursday in the series finale against Anaheim.

The right-hander plugs the hole created when Colby Lewis was lost last week to elbow surgery. The Rangers also learned last week that Neftali Feliz wasn't a candidate because he needs Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in his elbow.

General manager Jon Daniels said that he didn't feel compelled to make a deal, but it wasn't difficult to realize that the Rangers needed rotation help.

He found it, with just minutes to spare.

"Unfortunately, a lot of these things come down right at the end," Daniels said. "I wish it didn't happen that way, but I'm quite sure on both sides that makes things happen. This was literally within five or 10 minutes of the deadline.

"We wanted to improve the club. If Colby and Neftali had been 100 per cent, we still would have been looking to improve the club. Would there have been as much of a need in the rotation? Probably not."

The trade pushes Roy Oswalt to the bullpen as the Rangers' long man, and Scott Feldman keeps his rotation spot on the strength of his recent turnaround.

The Rangers weren't certain if Dempster would waive his rights to block a trade to the Rangers until Tuesday. Dempster, 35, said that he approved a deal after they emerged as a potential landing spot.

He's excited to return to the club that drafted him in 1995 and dealt him away a year later. Dempster leaves a team that is 18 1 /2 games back in the National League Central at 43-59 and joins the reigning American League champions and the leaders of the AL West.

"It's exciting to go somewhere that's got a real, real chance of winning the World Series for a third straight year, and hopefully that can happen," said Dempster, who was raised in Gibsons. "It wasn't that I didn't approve anything. It's just that I was never asked about the Rangers."

In Dempster, the Rangers acquired a pitcher who was among the NL ERA leaders all season. He leaves behind a 2.25 ERA, second in the league, as he joins an AL club for the first time in his career.

But he won't be alone. The Rangers traded for his catcher since 2008, Geovany Soto, on Monday night, and they will be paired together Thursday.

Soto will fill a similar role to Yorvit Torrealba, who was designated for assignment after the commissioner's office approved a trade that sends cash to the Rangers and minor league pitcher Jake Brigham and a player to be named or cash to the Cubs.