Pirates express an interest in Rangers' Sierra


CLEVELAND -- The Pittsburgh Pirates, preparing for a third run at the World Series, have expressed exploratory interest in acquiring Texas Rangers All-Star right fielder Ruben Sierra, major-league officials said yesterday.

The Pirates have emerged as the strongest candidate for a possible in-season trade of Sierra, who is headed to free agency.

According to the officials, the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox considered the possibility but decided to pass until Sierra becomes a free agent.

"Maybe they'll trade me; maybe they won't," said Sierra, who had a game-tying single in the eighth inning of yesterday's 14-4 victory against Cleveland. "If I go to Pittsburgh, I can't have my number."

Sierra wears uniform No. 21 in honor of countryman and hero Roberto Clemente. Pittsburgh retired Clemente's number after the Hall of Famer died in an airplane crash.

Any team that adds Sierra would have to assume the rest of his $5 million salary.

Sierra will earn $1.346 million for the final seven weeks of the regular season.

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