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Orioles trade Miguel Tejada to the Astros


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HOUSTON (AP) -- Miguel Tejada got his wish -- albeit a couple of years later than he wanted.

Tejada was traded from the Baltimore Orioles to the Houston Astros for five players on Wednesday, giving the former AL MVP a fresh start on a team looking to boost its lineup.

The Orioles got outfielder Luke Scott, pitchers Matt Albers, Troy Patton and Dennis Sarfate, and third baseman Michael Costanzo, Baltimore president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said.

Two winters ago, Tejada caused a stir in Baltimore when he said was unhappy with the Orioles' direction and wanted to be traded. He later backed off that stance.

"I feel very happy with this trade, because it's something that I've been really looking forward to," Tejada told The Associated Press by telephone from Miami.

Tejada hit .296 with 18 home runs and 81 RBIs this season. At 31, he's a four-time All-Star shortstop, but the Orioles were worried about his range.

Tejada had resisted efforts by the Orioles to move him over to third base. It's uncertain where he'll play for Houston, which has an unsettled left side of the infield.

"I was in Houston last week and I've played in Minute Maid Park in the All-Star game, so I think I'll do great in that city," he said.

Tejada said he thought the cozy ballpark dimensions in Houston will benefit him.

"My mind set is to produce everywhere and help this team make the playoffs," he added.

The 2002 AL MVP with Oakland is owed $13 million in each of the next two years, the final seasons of a $72 million, six-year contract.

The trade was the latest big move by new Astros general manager Ed Wade, who took over in September. Houston finished 73-89, two years after reaching the World Series for the first time.

Earlier this month, the Astros finalized their $16.5 million, three-year contract with free agent second baseman Kaz Matsui. He's expected to bat second behind new leadoff man Michael Bourn, acquired in November in part of a package that sent reliever Brad Lidge to Philadelphia.

Tejada had played all 162 games in six straight years before playing 133 this season. In 2006, Tejada sometimes drew the ire of the Orioles for failing to run out grounders and being the last player to arrive at the ballpark.

In 2005, Tejada came under scrutiny after teammate Rafael Palmeiro tested positive for steroids. Palmeiro said Tejada gave him vitamin B-12 that might have been tainted with performance-enhancing drugs.

Tejada denied any steroid use and his name has not been linked to any wrongdoing.

The Orioles went 69-93 this season and were hoping to restock their roster.

Scott, 29, hit .255 with 18 homers and 64 RBIs as Houston's regular right fielder. Albers, a 24-year-old righty, went 4-11 with a 5.86 ERA.

Patton, a 22-year-old lefty, made his major league debut this season. Sarfate, a 26-year-old righty, was 1-0 in seven relief appearances.

Costanzo, 24, was acquired from Philadelphia in the deal that also brought Bourn. He hit 27 home runs in Double-A this season. The Orioles said he will be assigned to the minors.

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