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Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 6:23am

Braves Make Key Trade For Stretch Run

The Atlanta Braves have acquired first baseman Derrek Lee from the Chicago Cubs. In return, the Braves give up three minor league pitchers: Tyrelle Harris, Robinson Lopez and Jeffrey Lorick.

The Braves hope the move to acquire Lee bolsters an offense that suffered the loss of veteran Chipper Jones last week to a season-ending knee injury.

Lee has put up disappointing numbers in the final season of his five-year, $65 million contract, hitting .251 with 16 homers and 56 RBIs. He's also been bothered by a sore back that kept him out of the Cubs' game Wednesday against San Diego.

But Lee since the July All-Star break has performed better at the plate, hitting .313 with 6 home runs and 20 RBI’s in 24 games. He’s a standout defensively at first base, with three Gold Gloves to his career credit.

The Braves already have Troy Glaus at first base, but the team placed him on the disabled list yesterday in order to rest a sore knee. Glaus would then do a rehab assignment with the Braves’ AAA team in Gwinnett before returning to a fill-in role at first base, or possibly at third base, his old position.

The Braves currently lead the NL East division by 2 1/2 games. They beat the Washington Nationals 3-2 Wednesday. The win came courtesy of Jason Heyward’s RBI-single in the 9th inning, representing Atlanta’s major-league leading 21st win in their final at-bat.