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David DeJesus traded to the Nationals for cap relief

Updated: September 21, 2013 6:28AM

David DeJesus thought he had escaped the possibility of being traded from the Cubs when the July 31 deadline passed.

That was why team president Theo Epstein’s call Monday afternoon caught him off guard.

“My wife and I were shopping and I missed his call at first,” he said. “My wife joked, ‘you got traded.’

“It’s one of those moments when time stops, a surreal moment.’’

DeJesus, 33, was sent to the Washington Nationals for a player to be named later. The veteran outfielder had to walk only to the visitor’s side of Wrigley Field to join his new team.

The waiver deal was made so the Cubs could shed some $2.5 million remaining on DeJesus’ contract, which was back-loaded in this final year and includes a $1.5 million buyout.

“That was certainly a strong consideration,’’ general manager Jed Hoyer said of the contract. “You also have [Brian] Bogusevic coming back, and Ryan Sweeney coming back in September [fractured left rib]. It gives us a chance to look at those guys going into the offseason.”

Both Bogusevic and Sweeney are left-handed hitting outfielders. Hoyer and manager Dale Sveum said they would share playing time.

But DeJesus could be brought back, Hoyer said.

“We really like David a lot. I’ve told his agent and Theo told him directly we’re willing to talk to him at some point about bringing him back,’’ Hoyer said. “I think he’s a good mentor for our young guys. I like his approach at the plate.

“For the [remaining] 39 games, we felt it was the right decision. But that doesn’t close the door on David with the Cubs in the future because there are a lot of things he does that we’d like to have in our clubhouse.’’

Leading off

Rookie Junior Lake will take over the leadoff role and probably play half of the remaining games in center field, Sveum said.

“He won’t walk a lot, but he might hit home runs, some leadoff doubles — those kinds of things — and hopefully he gets hot,’’ he said.


Anthony Rizzo was out Monday with migraine headaches and stomach woes.


Twitter: @toniginnetti

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