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Expos Deal Rodriguez to Cubs

December 12, 1997

CHICAGO (AP) _ The Montreal Expos shed another hefty salary Friday, trading popular slugger Henry Rodriguez to the Chicago Cubs for right-handed pitcher Miguel Batista.

Rodriguez, 30, who made $2.3 million last season, agreed to a $2.7 million, one-year contract with the Cubs that gives him the chance to make $500,000 more in bonuses if he has 550 plate appearances.

He hit .244 last season with 26 home runs and 83 RBIs.

``We’ve said all along that we needed to improve our power and run production and this guy helps us,″ Cubs general manager Ed Lynch said. ``We’re happy to add a power hitter the caliber of Rodriguez to the organization.″

Rodriguez will hit fifth or sixth in the Cubs order, providing protection for Sammy Sosa.

``Hopefully, Sammy will get better pitches to hit,″ Lynch said.

Batista was 0-5 with a 5.80 ERA in 21 games during the final six weeks of the season for Chicago. He went 9-4 with a 4.20 ERA in 14 starts and 17 relief appearances at Triple-A Iowa.

Batista, 26, originally signed as a free agent by Montreal in 1988, has also had stints with Pittsburgh in 1992 and with Florida in 1996.

Rodriguez was the seventh veteran to leave the Expos in recent weeks, following Pedro Martinez, Mike Lansing, David Segui, Doug Strange, Dave Veres and Darrin Fletcher.

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