NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Oakland Athletics dealt young starting pitcher Vin Mazzaro to the Kansas City Royals for outfielder David DeJesus, leading to speculation the A's were confident about landing Japanese import Hisashi Iwakuma.
Oakland's trade Wednesday of Mazzaro and promising minor league hurler Justin Marks to the Royals came two days after it was announced that the A's had won bidding rights to negotiate with Iwakuma.
The 30-year-old DeJesus, a fixture in the Royals outfield the last seven seasons, hit .318 in 91 games last season before he hurt his right thumb crashing into the center-field wall at Yankee Stadium and missed the rest of the year.
DeJesus, adept at all three outfield positions, goes to the A's with a 241-game errorless streak intact. He is eligible for free agency following the 2011 season.
Mazzaro, 24, was 6-8 with a 4.27 ERA for the A's in 24 games in 2010, including 18 starts. He also pitched for Class AAA Sacramento, going 3-1 with a 3.13 ERA.
Even after dealing Mazzaro, Oakland boasts a deep group of promising young starters including Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez and Dallas Braden.
The A's were believed to have outbid American League West rivals Texas and Seattle to obtain the rights to 29-year-old Iwakuma from the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan's Pacific League.
Iwakuma compiled a 10-9 record with a 2.82 ERA last season, averaging nearly seven strikeouts against 1.6 walks per nine innings.
(Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Steve Ginsburg)