MLB notes: Marlins land Lee to help at first base

Former Astro Carlos Lee turned down a trade last week to the Los Angeles Dodgers. (AFP)

Former Astro Carlos Lee turned down a trade last week to the Los Angeles Dodgers. (AFP)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:52 PM ET

The Miami Marlins have acquired first baseman Carlos Lee from the Houston Astros in exchange for third baseman Matt Dominguez and pitcher Rob Rasmussen.

Lee, who is making $18.5 million in the final season of six-year, $100-million contract, turned down a trade last week to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Marlins will pay only $200,000 of the money still owed to the 36-year-old, with the Astros on the hook for the rest.

Lee is hitting .286 this season with five homers and 29 RBI. He has 354 homers during his 14-year career.

Marlins first basemen had combined to hit only .206 with five homers entering play Wednesday.

Dominguez, 22, is considered to be strong defensively with a chance to become a steady major-leaguer.

Rasmussen, a 2010 second-round pick, is 4-7 with a 3.90 earned-run average at single-A Jupiter this season.

PHILS' HOWARD CLOSE TO RETURN

Slugger Ryan Howard is expected to play rehab games at triple-A Thursday and Friday and then, if all goes well, come off the disabled list and rejoin the Philadelphia Phillies soon after.

The 32-year-old first baseman hasn't played in the majors since tearing his left Achilles tendon making the final out of the National League division series last year.

Howard was 8-for-17 with one homer and nine RBI during his first six rehab games.

The struggling Phillies have sorely missed his bat. Howard hit .253 last season with 33 homers and 116 RBI.

The Phillies also expect to get pitcher Roy Halladay back shortly after the all-star break, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Wednesday.

The right-hander, who is recovering from a strained muscle in his right shoulder, threw a 56-pitch bullpen session Tuesday.

DEMPSTER GEARING UP

Ryan Dempster, who threw in the bullpen Wednesday, could return to the Chicago Cubs lineup as early as Sunday, MLB.com reported.

The 35-year-old right-hander has been on the disabled list since June 16 with tightness in his right latissimus dorsi muscle. He has pitched well when healthy, compiling a 2.11 ERA this season.

Dempster also has been the subject of trade talk as the July 31 non-waiver deadline approaches.

HAFNER HEALTHY AGAIN

Travis Hafner, sidelined since May 23 with an injured right knee, returned Wednesday to the Cleveland Indians lineup and went 1-for-3 with two walks.

Hafner, who had surgery May 31 to repair a damaged meniscus, was hitting .242 with six homers and 23 RBI in 39 games before getting hurt.

The 35-year-old designated hitter has missed at least one-third of each season since 2008.

Cleveland also placed outfielder Shelley Duncan on the paternity list.

BRIEFLY

The Chicago White Sox have placed pitcher Jesse Crain on the 15-day disabled list with a right posterior shoulder strain and recalled fellow righty Deunte Heath from triple-A Charlotte. Crain is 2-1 with a 2.38 ERA in 24 games this season. Heath, 26, was 4-2 with a 1.70 ERA in 22 games with Charlotte ... The New York Mets have recalled Jordany Valdespin from triple-A Buffalo to fill in for outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who injured his left hand during batting practice Tuesday. The Mets designated left-handed reliever Justin Hampson for assignment ... Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who has missed three games because of a sore right knee, told the Miami Herald he was unlikely to return to the lineup before Friday. Stanton indicated he would skip the home run derby and all-star game next week if he isn't healthy enough to play this weekend ... The New York Yankees have claimed outfielder Darnell McDonald, 33, off waivers from the Boston Red Sox ... Angels pitcher Dan Haren, who has struggled with a sore back over the past month, will be examined by doctors Thursday and could be headed for the disabled list for the first time in his 10-year career, the Los Angeles Times has reported.


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