Ken Griffey Jr. is leaving home to get back in a pennant race.
The Chicago White Sox acquired Griffey from the Cincinnati Reds yesterday, hoping the 38-year-old outfielder can help them hold on to their slim lead in the American League Central.
The Reds sent Griffey and cash to Chicago for reliever Nick Masset and Triple A second baseman Danny Richar.
Griffey, who hit his 600th career home run this season, agreed to the trade earlier in the day. Because of the cash transaction involved, the deal did not become official until the commissioner's office approved it.
White Sox general manager Kenny Williams coveted Griffey for several years. Once one of baseball's premier players, Griffey has never reached the World Series and has not even been in the playoffs since 1997 with Seattle.
"One of the things that factored into this was a guy who has had a great career but has not won a championship and how motivated he's going to be to get on that stage," Williams said. "That is a factor and will always be a factor for me."
It's uncertain how much Griffey has left in his oft-injured body - it's been a long while since he was voted to the All-Century team.
Griffey played right field the last two seasons, but will return to center when he joins the White Sox tonight in Kansas City. Manager Ozzie Guillen and the White Sox lead the Twins by one-half game after Minnesota beat Chicago, 10-6, last night.
"When I talked to Junior, he was very honest," Williams said. "He said, 'Well, I've got to tell you, I don't know that you're going to see the guy from Seattle.' I said, 'We're not looking for that guy from Seattle. What we're looking for is for you to use your instincts.' "
Griffey takes over for Nick Swisher, who moves to first base in place of slumping Paul Konerko. Swisher also will give up his No. 30 to Griffey, who wore it during his earliest years in Cincinnati.
"I just think there's a lot of added things he can bring," Swisher said. "I mean, I had posters of that guy on my wall growing up. So I think it's going to be an awesome thing for all of us."
Reds GM Walt Jocketty was surprised when the White Sox approached him Wednesday. Griffey also was caught off guard.
"I think he was just a little bit surprised, maybe, but I think he thought about it and said he wanted to talk to his family about it," Jocketty said. "I think he agreed it's a very good opportunity for him, and the club obviously wanted him and pursued him and came after him. That's got to be a good feeling for him, I guess."
Marlins get RhodesThe Florida Marlins bolstered their bullpen by acquiring lefthander Arthur Rhodes from the Seattle Mariners for minor league righthander Gaby Hernandez.
Florida is in the thick of the National League East and wild-card races.
The 38-year-old Rhodes is 2-1 with a 2.86 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 22 innings.
"We wanted to add some depth to the bullpen, some experience," Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "It's a deal we started talking about last weekend, and it came together this morning."
The 21-year-old Hernandez is a combined 5-8 this season with a 6.47 ERA in 17 starts for Triple A Albuquerque and Double A Carolina.