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Giants acquire lefty Kline from Orioles for Hawkins

DALLAS -- Left-hander Steve Kline was acquired by the San Francisco Giants from the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday for right-hander LaTroy Hawkins and cash.

The swap of relievers followed the decision by left-handed reliever Scott Eyre to leave the Giants and sign with the Chicago Cubs.

"The first thing that comes to mind is we might have dodged a bullet of losing Scott," Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. "This guy has got quite a track record."

The 33-year-old Kline pitched for Giants manager Felipe Alou with the Montreal Expos from 1997-2000. The reliever was 2-4 with a 4.28 ERA last season in Baltimore, but he had a 2.83 ERA after the All-Star break. He has a 29-34 career record with 36 saves and a 3.40 ERA.

"I think a return to the National League will be what he needs, although he had a great second half," Sabean said. "So we consider ourselves fortunate."

Sabean said Kline is like Eyre in that he's durable and wants the ball all the time. Kline has appeared in at least 67 games in each of the last eight seasons, and 569 of his 656 major-league appearances have come in the National League.

Hawkins, who turns 33 on Dec. 21, was acquired by the Giants on May 28 from the Cubs for right-handers Jerome Williams and David Aardsma. Hawkins was a combined 2-8 with six saves and a 3.83 ERA but became expendable for the Giants last week when they signed right-hander Tim Worrell to a $4 million, two-year contract.

"It's easier when you get traded in the offseason than in the middle of the season," Hawkins said. "I'm happy being back in the American League, I'll tell you that much. It's where I started my career, what I was used to."

Hawkins began his big-league career with Minnesota in 1995 and spent five seasons as a starter. He was an effective reliever for the Twins from 2000-03 before going to the Cubs.

Because he lives in the Dallas area, Hawkins was able to visit Tuesday night at the winter meetings with Orioles officials, including manager Sam Perlozzo and pitching coach Leo Mazzone, who had been with the Atlanta Braves since 1990 before going to Baltimore in October.

"I'm excited. I heard [Greg] Maddux talk about him when I was in Chicago all the time," Hawkins said. "He's a pitcher's pitching coach. I talked to him for 45 minutes. He's a little spark plug."