Atlanta Gets Closer Wickman from Cleveland

ATLANTA (AP) - The Atlanta Braves acquired veteran closer Bob
Wickman from the Cleveland Indians today -- giving the team an
established pitcher to address a season-long weakness.

The trade was announced by the Indians.

The Braves traded minor league catcher Max Ramirez for the
37-year-old Wickman who has been successful in 15 of 18 save
opportunities with Cleveland.

Wickman, who shared the American League lead with 45 saves last
season. He earned his 15th save last night to help the Indians end
a five-game losing streak. He is 1-and-4 with a 4.18 E-R-A in 29
games.

The Braves' relievers have a 4.73 E-R-A and have blown 17 of 37
save opportunities. Chris Reitsma, out for the season following
elbow surgery, Jorge Sosa and Kenny Ray have been used as closer.
Ray, who has five saves in eight chances, had perhaps the most
success, but no reliever fared well enough to hold the job.

The Braves also struggled to close games last year, when former
closer John Smoltz made his return to the starting rotation.

The Braves have won 12 of 16 to move back into wild-card contention, five games behind Cincinnati.


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