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(Reuters) - All-Star pitcher Johnny Cueto has been traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Kansas City Royals for left-handers Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed, the teams said on Sunday.
The deal, which will also bring Cueto's new team cash considerations toward his $10 million salary, was announced during the third inning of Kansas City's home game against the Houston Astros.
Cueto, who can become a free agent next season, goes from the 43-52 Reds to the reigning American League champion Royals, who at 59-38 have the league's best record.
Cueto, 29, has gone 7-6 with a 2.62 ERA in 19 starts for the Reds this season and is expected to help shore up a Kansas City rotation that has suffered through injuries and erratic form.
Last week, the Royals lost their left-handed starter Jason Vargas for the rest of the season because of an elbow injury.
"I'm very thankful to my teammates, my fans and my coaching staff," Cueto was quoted as saying on the Royals website. "It's a very emotional time for me. But I understand it's part of the game. I'm just excited about my next step.
"(The Royals) do have a great team. I'm excited about my next chapter. I know they play baseball very good. I'm excited because I know it's going to be good for my career and good for the team."
Cueto, a Dominican Republic native, won 19 games for the Reds in 2012 as he helped them clinch the NL Central title. He became an All-Star for the first time last year.
Since the start of 2011, Cueto's 2.51 ERA is the second-lowest among Major League pitchers, trailing only Clayton Kershaw (2.16).
He is in his eighth big league season and has a 92-63 career record with a 3.21 ERA.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Larry Fine