The San Francisco Giants, taking another step to upgrade the National League's 15th-ranked offense, acquired three-time All-Star Freddy Sanchez from Pittsburgh on Wednesday for pitching prospect Tim Alderson.
Sanchez, 31, won the National League batting title in 2006. He's hitting .296 this year and ranks fifth in the major leagues in doubles. He helps upgrade a San Francisco offense that ranks 15th in the National League in runs scored.
The teams announced the trade right after the Giants beat Pittsburgh 1-0 in 10 innings. Sanchez had to change clubhouses to join his new team, which is in the thick of the NL wild-card race.
He gave his hugs and handshakes and bid farewell on the visitor's side, then walked to San Francisco's clubhouse to pull on his new No. 28 jersey and a black Giants cap before being introduced.
"It's crazy," said Sanchez, who's unsure when he'll make his Giants debut because of a knee injury. "I'd be lying if I didn't say it's a little crazy, a little hectic. I'm here for a reason."
The Giants, 54-46 and tied with Colorado for first in the NL wild-card race, have remade the right side of their infield leading up to Friday's trade deadline. They acquired first baseman Ryan Garko in a trade with Cleveland on Monday, and will now plug in Sanchez at second base.
"Simply put, our long-awaited next move has finally been consummated," Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. "A kid that has distinguished himself as an All-Star three out of the last four years and a batting champ within that time frame. The timing's great."
The Giants paid a big price for Sanchez in surrendering Alderson, who was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 4 prospect in the San Francisco organization entering this season. Alderson, 20, is 6-foot-6 and 217 pounds. He has a 7-2 record and a 3.65 ERA in two minor league stops this season.
The Giants selected Alderson with the 22nd overall pick in Major League Baseball's first-year player draft two years ago and gave him a $1.29 million signing bonus.
"We are pleased to bring in a pitcher as highly regarded as Alderson into our system," Pirates GM Neal Huntington said. "Tim has the size, frame, athleticism and an advanced feel for pitching at his age to become a high quality major league starting pitcher. He has a solid arsenal of pitches with plus command that has allowed him to move through the Giants' deep system at an accelerated pace."
Sabean went ahead with the deal after the team's medical staff checked Sanchez's tender left knee Wednesday for the second time this week. Dr. Ken Akizuki found noticeable improvement in the knee since a previous exam Monday and categorized Sanchez as day to day.
"It's tough coming to a new team not knowing if you can play or not," Sanchez said. "That's the last thing you want to do is come to a new team and be in the trainer's room. I want to get there as soon as I can but I also want to be smart about it."
Sanchez was out of the lineup and replaced at second base by Delwyn Young in the Pirates' 1-0, 10-inning loss to San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon.
Huntington has already traded away Nate McLouth, Nyjer Morgan and Adam LaRoche this season, and the Pirates sent pitcher Ian Snell and shortstop Jack Wilson to Seattle in a seven-player trade Wednesday.
Sanchez has an $8 million option that vests if he accrues 600 plate appearances this season, and the Pirates moved him after determining that price was beyond their comfort zone. The Pirates recently proposed voiding the option and signing Sanchez to a two-year, $10 million option.
Sanchez and his representatives rejected the proposal and made a counteroffer for a deal that would pay him $6.5 million next year, $6.5 million in 2011 and $7 million in 2012, but the Pirates rejected that offer.
The Minnesota Twins, whose second-base contingent ranks last in the major leagues with a feeble .505 OPS, were also reportedly interested in Sanchez.
Jerry Crasnick covers baseball for ESPN Insider. The Associated Press contributed to this report.