Orioles get Cust from Colorado

March 11, 2003 at 4:43 PM
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., March 11 (UPI) -- The Baltimore Orioles Tuesday took a chance on Jack Cust, sending Chris Richard to the Colorado Rockies in for the highly-regarded prospect.

The Orioles have spent much of the spring looking to land a slugger for the middle of their lineup.

In the midst of rumors the team is trying to acquire a cleanup hitter like Ken Griffey Jr., the Orioles sent Richard, who can play first base or the outfield, and cash to the Rockies.

In Cust, Baltimore acquired a 24-year-old power hitter who can play first base, but may best be suited for designated hitter.

Cust hit .265 with 24 doubles, 23 homers, and 55 RBI in 105 games for Triple-A Colorado Springs last season, and has 102 homers over his last four minor league seasons.

He was the MVP of the Triple-A All-Star Game last July. He was recalled by Colorado shortly thereafter, but hit just .169 with a homer and eight RBI in 67 at-bats for the Rockies.

Cust was off to a strong start this spring, batting .357 with a double and two RBI in 14 Cactus League at-bats.

Richard, who missed the first four months of last season following shoulder surgery, hit .232 with four homers and 21 RBI in 50 games. He is a career .259 hitter with 33 homers and 119 RBI in 248 games.

Richard will have to battle for playing time with Colorado, which has hitting heavyweights Todd Helton (first base), and outfielders Larry Walker, Preston Wilson, Jay Payton, and Gabe Kapler.

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