Giants acquire veteran lefty Stanton from Nationals

Updated: July 28, 2006, 9:54 PM ET
Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- The San Francisco Giants boosted their bullpen for the stretch run, acquiring veteran left-handed reliever Mike Stanton on Friday from the Washington Nationals for a minor league pitcher.

The Nationals will receive 19-year-old right-hander Shairon Martis, who was pitching at Class A Augusta. Martis threw a no-hitter for the Netherlands against Panama during the World Baseball Classic in March. He will be assigned to Class-A Savannah of the South-Atlantic League, the same league he was pitching in.

The trade was announced while Stanton was in Los Angeles with the Nationals to play the Dodgers. He'll join the Giants in Pittsburgh on Saturday. To fill Stanton's roster spot, the Nationals purchased the contract of right-hander Travis Hughes from Triple A New Orleans. Hughes was 1-5 with four saves and a 2.48 ERA in 46 appearances.

"We like Martis a lot," Nationals general manager Jim Bowden said from his hotel during a conference call. "We followed him pretty closely over the last year when he was in the Arizona League and was named the 10th-best prospect in the league.

"We like his arm. He throws 91-95, has a good breaking ball, and we like his delivery. He's only 19 years old and we think he has a high ceiling. We scouted him in the World Cup game when he threw the no-hitter and we thought he had a chance. I mean, certainly it's down the road, and it's a building-for-the-future deal," Bowden said.

Stanton was 3-5 with a 4.47 ERA for the Nationals. He could be valuable in the Giants' push for the playoffs, having pitched in the postseason in 12 of his 18 major-league seasons, including six playoff appearances with the Yankees (1997-2002).

"There was significant interest from a lot of contending teams because of how much he's able to pitch on a daily basis, as well as his makeup and his attitude," Bowden said. "Everyone needs a left-handed reliever in a pennant race, so there was a lot more interest than we thought."

Stanton has appeared in 56 games this year, second most in the National League. His 1,083 career regular season appearances is third-most in the majors.

"It's difficult to give up Mike Stanton for several reasons," Bowden said. "No. 1, his influence in the clubhouse is special. His help in developing young relievers is remarkable, and he's just a class act. So from that perspective, it was really hard.

"But our plan of building for the long term and being able to stockpile as many young arms as possible made this an opportunity that we felt we had to make. And this was by far the best deal we saw on the table. So anytime we have a chance to get a good young arm like this, we're going to do it."

Entering Friday, the Giants were third in the NL West, three games behind division-leading San Diego and a half-game behind Arizona.

The trade was the second addition in a week to the San Francisco bullpen. Right-hander Vinnie Chulk joined the Giants on July 21 as part of the deal that also brought first baseman Shea Hillenbrand from Toronto in exchange for reliever Jeremy Accardo.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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