Pitcher Dontrelle Willis Traded to Arizona Diamondbacks by Detroit Tigers

(Corrects to show that Willis is left-handed in third paragraph.)

The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired pitcher Dontrelle Willis, the National League’s Rookie of the Year in 2003, from the Detroit Tigers.

The Diamondbacks sent pitcher Billy Buckner to Detroit for Willis, a former 22-game winner who was designated for assignment after going 1-2 with a 4.98 earned run average this season. The Tigers will pay the rest of Willis’s $12 million salary for 2010, minus the prorated portion of the minimum salary of $400,000, MLB.com said.

Willis, a 28-year-old left-hander, went 68-54 with a 3.78 ERA over his first five Major League Baseball seasons with the Florida Marlins. He was acquired by the Tigers in 2007 and signed a three-year, $29 million contract, before injuries, lack of command and an anxiety disorder led him to go 2-8 with a 6.86 ERA with Detroit.

“It was a great place to play baseball, but I just didn’t get it done,” Willis told reporters, according to MLB.com. “It’s definitely rejuvenating that someone else wants you and believes in you. I was very excited. It’s an opportunity for a fresh start.”

Willis won the NL’s rookie award in 2003, when the Marlins won the World Series as he went 14-6 with a 3.30 ERA. He went 22-10 with a 2.63 ERA in 2005.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

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