Braves go off their Rocker

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The Independent Online

The Atlanta Braves are about to trade away closer John Rocker, according to a published report.

The Record of Hackensack reports in Monday's editions that a "highly placed baseball official" said Atlanta and the Montreal Expos are on the verge of a deal that would swap Rocker for closer Ugueth Urbina.

Rocker, who had 38 saves and a 2.49 ERA, was suspended for all of spring training and the first 28 days of the season after the reliever's disparaging comments about minorities, gays and foreigners were published. But an arbitrator allowed him to report March 2 and cut the regular-season suspension to two weeks.

The deal has been discussed all spring, but is getting closer to being finalized, the source told the newspaper.

The delay has been discussions about who else might be included. The Braves would prefer to make a straight swap, but the Expos want another pitcher, preferably starter Bruce Chen.

Urbina led the National League with 41 saves last year.