When the Cubs signed Kosuke Fukudome last winter, general manager Jim Hendry told Matt Murton he would try to trade him. It took Hendry until Tuesday, when he sent Murton and three players to Oakland for pitchers Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin.
"I was not surprised," Murton said. "It's something I've been talking about, hearing about since November. You never know exactly when it's going to happen, but it's always kind of been in the back of my mind that this day is coming. It's here now. I wish the Cubs the best of luck, and I look forward to my new opportunity."
Murton's path was blocked in left field by Alfonso Soriano and Fukudome in right. He split time this year between the Cubs and Class AAA Iowa, batting .250 for the big club with no homers and a .286 on-base percentage. Murton came into this year with an OBP of .365 for his career, and he hopes he can start with Oakland.
" I have to go out there, and I have to compete," he said. "I'll have to earn a job. But again, you always look forward to the opportunity to have a chance to compete and put yourself in the lineup on a regular basis."
Soriano slow: Alfonso Soriano said he planned only to hit off a tee or hit "soft-toss" balls Tuesday because his left hand was still weak and sore. Soriano took full batting practice in St. Louis Saturday but reported afterward his hand felt weak.
Soriano has been on the disabled list since June 12 with a broken left hand. He reiterated he'll go the All-Star Game but won't play. Soriano still hasn't decided whether he'll go on a rehab stint, but manager Lou Piniella said it would probably help to do so.
Top pick agrees: Look for No. 1 draft pick Andrew Cashner to be at Wrigley Field today. The Cubs and Cashner have come to terms on a $1.54 million signing bonus. Cashner, a closer out of TCU, also gets $75,000 for school and an invite to spring training next year.