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Monday, 1 August 2011

Sabean satisfied with Giants' trades at deadline

Brian Sabean's assumption that second baseman Freddy Sanchez will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery was partly behind the acquisition of shortstop Orlando Cabrera, the general manager said after the nonwaiver trade deadline passed Sunday.

Sabean could not make one final move for a catcher, and his bid for Houston leadoff hitter Michael Bourn was trumped by Atlanta.

Still, Sabean expressed satisfaction in acquiring a starting shortstop, second baseman (Jeff Keppinger) and potentially potent right fielder (Carlos Beltran) while losing only one premium prospect in pitcher Zack Wheeler.

"There was going to be some bloodletting somewhere," Sabean said. "We did this as best we could with the least amount of pain."

Sabean believed that none of the catchers available was an upgrade over Eli Whiteside or Chris Stewart. Though both have struggled to hit, and Whiteside's defense has weakened since he started playing more, Sabean said manager Bruce Bochy was "protective" of the two because of their handling of the pitchers.

Sabean noted the Giants' ERA has fallen since Buster Posey got hurt and said, "I talk to the pitchers, and they're very comfortable with these guys.

"It has to go both ways. It's not only important to add somebody with more points on his batting average or perhaps a chance to drive in runs, you have to have somebody who's a slam dunk to handle the staff. We were not able to find that kind of catcher."

The Braves acquired Bourn for four players. A source familiar with Sunday's talks said the Astros wanted several prospects from the Giants for Bourn, including one on Sabean's "untouchable" list, which is thought to include first baseman Brandon Belt, center fielder Gary Brown and heat-throwing reliever Heath Hembree.

"Some teams, or one team, thought they had a better deal," Sabean said, referring to Houston.

As for Cabrera, Sabean said, "We had to react to being undermanned and couldn't pass up this opportunity."

He said shortstops Brandon Crawford and Mike Fontenot "looked overmatched with the bat." Moreover, the Giants do not see Miguel Tejada coming off the disabled list in the next two weeks.

Infield depth becomes an even bigger issue if Sanchez undergoes surgery to repair his dislocated right shoulder. He has been rehabbing in Arizona, and there was talk he would hit in summer-league games as soon as today. That was not soon enough for Sabean.

"With each passing day, you go into next year," the GM said. "For me, personally, it doesn't look good."

Cabrera went 0-for-3 in his Giants debut Sunday. He also made two defensive plays on Ramon Hernandez that answered some concerns about his range and arm strength. In the second inning, he made a nice stop on a grounder up the middle. In the sixth, he reached a ball in the hole and made a strong throw to first.

Cabrera acknowledged he could not throw well in spring training because of an injury that occurred during his winter workouts.

"I played a couple of innings at short in Cleveland," he said. "I feel comfortable. I've got my arm strength back. I feel good. I feel well-rested. I look forward to doing my job."

Tonight, fans will see the Giants' new trio together at home, where Beltran hopes he will improve upon his 2-for-17 start.

"I'm grateful to Brian for bringing in some help," Bochy said. "Now it's up to us. We've got to go out and play our best ball. We've got to go out and do it and execute."

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/07/31/SPM71KHGHQ.DTL#ixzz1Tnd5JLgA

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