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Mets Trade McElroy for Orosco

December 11, 1999

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ Twelve years after he left, Jesse Orosco is returning to the New York Mets.

Orosco, who was on the mound for the final out of the Mets’ last World Series title in 1986, was dealt to New York by Baltimore on Friday for Chuck McElroy in a swap of left-handers.

It will be a strange experience when he returns to Shea Stadium. He said he’s been back just once _ for interleague games in 1998, although he did pitch there in 1988 with Los Angeles.

The image of the Mets’ World Series win over Boston still fresh, Orosco was dealt from the Mets to the Dodgers after the 1987 season as part of a three-way trade that also involved Oakland.

``When I went there two years ago, it was kind of tingling,″ he said. ``I was a little nervous going back.″

Orosco, 42, was 0-2 with a 5.34 ERA and one save for the Orioles last season. He appeared in 65 games, raising his career total to a major league-record 1,090. His 1,086 relief appearances also are a major league mark.

The deal, the first of the winter meetings, was precipitated by the Orioles’ hiring of Mike Hargrove as manager. Orosco was with Cleveland when Hargrove took over the Indians midway through the 1991 season, and Hargrove stopped using him, apparently costing the pitcher some bonus money.

``I had a nice run in Baltimore,″ said Orosco, who had been with the Orioles since 1995. ``I just don’t want anything to be a controversy.″

Orosco, who waived his no-trade clause to permit the deal, joins a crowded Mets’ bullpen that already includes closers Armando Benitez and John Franco, and also Turk Wendell, Dennis Cook and Pat Mahomes.

``What Jesse does is give us a situational lefty,″ Mets general manager Steve Phillips said.

Baltimore isn’t sure if it will use McElroy for long or short relief, according to Syd Thrift, in charge of the Orioles’ baseball operations. Thrift lives in the same building as Orosco and thinks he can pitch for several more years.

``It’s hard to predict what Jesse’s going to do, because he’s beyond all prediction,″ Thrift said.

Orosco joked that his wife wants him to pitch until he’s 50 _ to keep him out of the house.

``I kind of laughed about it,″ he said. ``Now, it’s starting to scare me.″

New York will try to make several trades during the meetings. Phillips said he had meetings with seven teams scheduled for Saturday, that he had more than one offer on the table and that he was talking to agents Friday night.

In trying to replace John Olerud, who signed with Seattle on Monday, he needs both offense and a first baseman.

``There are more offensive outfielders to consider than there are first basemen,″ said Phillips, who appears to be interested in free-agent outfielder Greg Vaughn and free-agent first baseman David Segui.

One possibility was eliminated when Carlos Delgado agreed Friday to a $36 million, three-year contract with Toronto, which considered trading him unless he re-signed.

McElroy, 32, was acquired by the Mets from Colorado on July 31 along with outfielder Darryl Hamilton in a deal that sent outfielders Brian McRae and Thomas Johnson, and left-hander Rigo Beltran to the Rockies.

McElroy was 3-1 with a 5.50 ERA in 56 games last season, getting all his decisions with the Rockies. He had a 6.20 ERA in 41 appearances for Colorado, and a 3.38 ERA for the Mets. He didn’t pitch for New York during the postseason.

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