The Royals traded outfielder Melky Cabrera to the San Francisco Giants for left-hander Jonathan Sanchez on Monday, upgrading their rotation and clearing the way for hotshot prospect Lorenzo Cain to get a chance in center field.
Sanchez was the Giants’ best pitcher during the latter part of 2010, when they beat the Texas Rangers to win the World Series. He was 4-1 with a 1.03 ERA over his last seven outings, and finished the year with a 13-9 record and a 3.07 ERA.
Sanchez struggled most of last season, partly due to a case of biceps tendinitis, going 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA before missing the final month with a left ankle sprain.
Cabrera rebounded from a disastrous season with Atlanta by hitting .305 with 44 doubles, 18 homes and 87 RBI in his first season in Kansas City.
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SEEKING CUBAN STAR
Yoenis Cespedes, 26, a center fielder who defected from Cuba, is expected to be declared a free agent in the next month.
The Miami Marlins, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Washington Nationals have been mentioned as teams interested in the right-handed hitting Cespedes, who owns the single-season home run record in Cuba’s version of big-league baseball.
Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux, a pitcher for the Mariners in 1997, has withdrawn from consideration for the manager’s job with the Red Sox. … The fallout from a 99-loss season for the Twins has started with the firing of general manager Bill Smith. The Twins are returning Terry Ryan to the role on an interim basis.