Yankees acquire Swisher, send Betemit and two pitchers to White Sox

The New York Yankees acquired center fielder-first baseman Nick Swisher in a trade with the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

The Yankees traded infielder Wilson Betemit and minor league pitchers Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nunez to Chicago in exchange for the switch-hitting Swisher and minor league pitcher Kanekoa Texeira.

Swisher, 27, hit .219 with 24 home runs in 153 games with Chicago this season.

Swisher is a potential first-base candidate for the Yankees, who recently declined to exercise Jason Giambi's $22 million option for 2009. He also played all three outfield positions for Chicago this season, and gives manager Joe Girardi another outfield option.

"We're excited with the addition of Nick Swisher," Girardi said in a statement released by the team. "We feel he has a ton of upside. He's a patient switch-hitter, adds versatility at a number of defensive positions, including first base and the outfield, and will be a positive presence inside the clubhouse."

The Yankees are currently looking at a possible outfield alignment of Johnny Damon in left field, a platoon of Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera in center, and Xavier Nady in right. Hideki Matsui is also coming back from knee surgery, and could play left or be a designated hitter.

Swisher made 69 starts in center field, 47 starts at first base, 16 starts in left and 11 starts in right for Chicago last season. His arrival in New York could lessen the chances of the Yankees offering salary arbitration to right fielder Bobby Abreu, who hit .296 and drove in 100 runs last season.

The White Sox acquired Swisher from Oakland last January in a trade for pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Fautino De Los Santos and outfielder Ryan Sweeney.

Swisher, who hit .211 in April and then watched his playing time decrease significantly by September, has three years left on a five-year, $26.75 million contract. He's scheduled to make $5.3 million in 2009, $6.75 million in 2010 and $9 million in $2011. His deal also includes a $10.25 million club option for 2012, with a $1 million buyout.

Marquez, 24, was a supplemental first-round draft pick by the Yankees out of Sacramento City College in 2004. He posted a 43-40 record and a 3.60 ERA in five minor league seasons with New York.

The 22-year-old Texeira was 6-3 with 21 saves and a 1.33 ERA in 51 combined relief appearances with Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham, ranking second among White Sox minor leaguers in saves.

Betemit hit .265 with 13 doubles, six home runs and 25 RBIs in 87 games with the Yankees in 2008, making starts at all four infield positions. He was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers at the 2007 trade deadline in exchange for right-handed pitcher Scott Proctor.

Nunez was acquired at the 2008 trade deadline from the Washington Nationals in exchange for infielder Alberto Gonzalez. He has a 21-18 record with a 3.26 ERA in 93 career minor league games (64 starts).

Jerry Crasnick covers Major League Baseball for ESPN.com.