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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Brewers send 3 pitchers to Padres for Linebrink

In turnabout in trade philosophy, the Milwaukee Brewers acquired reliever Scott Linebrink from the San Diego Padres for three minor league pitchers on Wednesday, hoping to bolster their unexpected run at the playoffs.

Linebrink will be a setup man for closer Francisco Cordero, who has converted 32 of 35 save chances.

"I wasn't surprised. I knew I was getting close to the deadline and hadn't heard anything," Linebrink said. "It's usually when you don't hear anything that happens. Last year my name was thrown out plenty and nothing happened. When it goes quiet there is usually something in the works."

The Padres acquired right-hander Will Inman, a third-round pick in the 2005 amateur draft; left-hander Steve Garrison, a 10th-round pick in the same draft; and 25-year-old left-hander Joe Thatcher.

The bullpen is one of the Brewers' main concerns, in part because of injuries. Reliever Yovani Gallardo had to move into the starting rotation after Ben Sheets hurt a finger on his pitching hand earlier this month.

The Brewers have been in first place in the NL Central since a 25-11 start. Their 8½-game lead has dwindled to only two in the past week, a slide set up by the team's struggling offense.

The deal was a notable change for the Brewers, who are more accustomed to thinking about who they might trade away in July. Milwaukee hasn't had a winning record since 1992.

"It's a change for us competing for the postseason," General Manager Doug Melvin said. "You get to that point and you have to adjust your philosophy and your thinking."

It might wind up as the Brewers' biggest deal before the trading deadline.

"I'm not sure there's anything else we'd do," Melvin said. "This was one of our No. 1 goals. We have versatile players on the bench. We'd like our players on the offensive side to produce the way they did in the first half, when we got ourselves where we are. If they do that, we'll be fine."
Linebrink has been a dependable setup man for the Padres, going 3-3 with a 3.80 earned run average in 44 games this season. Last year, he led the Padres' bullpen with seven wins and 68 strikeouts. He also led the NL with 36 holds.

He's expected to join the team for a weekend series in St. Louis.

Read More here from Joe Kay of the AP courtesy of the Green Bay Press Gazette:

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