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D-Backs snare Callaspo in trade with Angels
02/28/2006 9:11 PM ET
TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Diamondbacks sent reliever Jason Bulger to the Angels on Thursday in exchange for one of the top prospects in their system -- second baseman Alberto Callaspo.

Callaspo, 22, was recently ranked by Baseball America as the eighth-best prospect in the talent-laden Angels system. Originally a shortstop, he was moved to second because of the presence of Erick Aybar and was expendable because the Angels are loaded with middle infield prospects such as Howie Kendrick and Brandon Wood.

"A guy we liked," Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes said. "A middle-of-the-field player who can potentially play both sides of the base and give you offense and defense in the middle of the field, which is something we're always trying to find."

A switch-hitter, Callaspo split time between two levels of the Angels system last year, hitting .297 in 89 games in Double-A and compiling a .316 mark in Triple-A. Though he doesn't walk much, he also doesn't strike out often. For the past two seasons he's been the toughest player in the Minor Leagues to strike out, fanning just once per 20.4 plate appearances last year.

Callaspo will likely start the year with Triple-A Tucson.

"We're starting to have a crowded middle infield with guys like [Alex] Cintron, Counsell and [Orlando] Hudson, [Damion] Easley, [Andy] Green and then [Stephen] Drew and Callaspo," Byrnes said. "That group will encompass Triple-A and the big leagues, so we'll see how it all shakes out."

Melvin sat with Bulger on a golf cart during the workout after the right-hander was given the news. The 27-year-old was Arizona's first pick (22nd overall) in the first round of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft. Melvin could relate to Bulger's situation, as he was a first-round pick of the Tigers in 1981 and was dealt in 1986 after having appeared in 41 games for Detroit the year before. Bulger was 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in nine relief appearances for Arizona last year and was 3-6 with a 3.54 ERA in 56 relief outings for Triple-A Tucson.

"I just tried to share my experiences with him," Melvin said. "One thing I wanted to impress upon him is it's not that we didn't want you. There was another team that wanted you very badly. That's the way he has to look at it. He was crushed and I don't blame him. He's a great kid, very respectful kid; everybody here liked him, the coaching staff liked him. It's tough for us, too, but we're bringing in a guy that we wanted and they're getting a guy that they wanted."

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.