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Tuesday, September 3
Updated: September 4, 2:24 PM ET
Giants trade minor league pitcher for Mueller

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants reacquired infielder Bill Mueller from the Chicago Cubs for minor league pitcher Jeff Verplancke on Tuesday night.

Bill Mueller
Third Base
Chicago Cubs
102 7 37 51 0 .266

The Giants announced the trade after the fourth inning of their game against the Colorado Rockies. The fans at Pacific Bell Park gave Mueller a standing ovation.

"It's an opportunity to be back in San Francisco where it's familiar to me,'' Mueller said. "I just want to do whatever comes my way to help these guys.''

Mueller began the season on the disabled list following knee surgery in March. He is batting .266 with seven homers and 37 RBI in 103 games since being activated May 6.

He is hitting .319 in his last 28 games.

Mueller won't be eligible for the playoffs if the Giants advance since he wasn't with the team before Sept. 1.

"It's unfortunate that I can't stay with them if and when they make the playoffs, but I'm going to do whatever I can to help,'' Mueller said.

He can become a free agent after this season, and expressed interest in returning to Chicago.

"I don't know my future, but the door is definitely open that I may swing back this way. I'm going to miss playing here the last three weeks.''

Mueller, who made his major league debut with San Francisco in 1996, will be used in a backup role, Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. San Francisco also gets cash considerations in the deal.

The 31-year-old Mueller has played the past two seasons with the Cubs. He was a 15th-round draft pick by the Giants in 1993.

"When you're trying to win every game like we are, a guy like this coming off the bench is a godsend,'' Sabean said.

Mueller played for San Francisco from 1996-2000. A strong defensive third baseman, he batted .268 with 10 homers and 55 RBI as the Giants won the NL West in 2000. He hit .294 two years earlier.

The Cubs contacted the Giants on Monday with the idea, Sabean said, and the teams worked out final details Tuesday. Sabean discussed the move with manager Dusty Baker and then made it happen.

"It's something that just literally came the last 24 hours,'' Sabean said. "It's not something we explored before.''

Mueller's familiarity with the organization, the fact he's a switch-hitter and his high on-base percentage (.351) made him attractive, Sabean said.

Mueller had two hits Tuesday night for the Cubs in their 10-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers and is expected to join the Giants on Wednesday.

He was traded to Chicago on Nov. 19, 2000, for right-hander Tim Worrell.

The 24-year-old Verplancke was an 11th-round draft pick by San Francisco in 1999. In 51 relief appearances at Triple-A Fresno this season, he was 3-5 with three saves and a 3.59 ERA.

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