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In the market for some time for a veteran, right-handed-hitting outfielder to bolster their bench, the Nationals late last night acquired Scott Hairston and a player-to-be-named from the Cubs for minor-league right-hander Ivan Pineyro and another player-to-be-named.
The club officially announced the trade this morning, and Hairston is expected to be in uniform tonight when the Nationals open a four-game series in Philadelphia.
Hairston, 33, fills an obvious need for the Nationals, who have struggled to get production both from their bench (reserves are hitting a collective .174 with a .516 OPS) and against left-handed pitching (.215 batting average, .612 OPS) this season. The journeyman outfielder owns a career .813 OPS against left-handers, though that number has fallen to .684 this year.
The Nationals figure to use Hairston as a pinch-hitter late in games while giving him an occasional start against lefties, hoping he can provide some much-needed offensive punch to a club that has struggled to score runs all season (though has gotten hot in the last week, scoring eight or more runs in five of its last eight games).
A veteran of parts of 10 big-league seasons with the Diamondbacks, Padres, Athletics, Mets and Cubs, Hairston signed a two-year, $5 million contract with Chicago in February. Thus, the Nationals now control his rights through 2014, perhaps some extra incentive for general manager Mike Rizzo (who originally drafted Hairston in 2001 while serving as Arizona's scouting director) to make this deal.
Hairston comes from a long line of ballplayers. His grandfather, Sam, played for the White Sox in 1951. His father, Jerry, spent 14 seasons in the big leagues (mostly with the White Sox). His older brother, Jerry, has been a big leaguer the last 16 years and played for the Nationals in 2011.
Hairston's arrival will force the Nationals to remove someone off their active roster. The most likely candidate is Tyler Moore, who was the only member of Sunday's starting lineup not to reach base in an 11-7 win over the Padres. Since returning from Class AAA Syracuse two weeks ago, Moore is 1-for-11 with a homer.
Pineyro, 21, is 6-3 with a 3.24 ERA in 15 combined starts between low-Class A Hagerstown and high-Class A Potomac this season. Signed from his native Dominican Republic in 2010, the right-hander is 13-11 with a 3.17 ERA over three seasons in the Nationals' farm system.