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Ryan Garko

Ryan Garko

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Still, even the best flamethrowers need run support.

With that in mind, the Giants finally added a much-needed stick to an ever-struggling offense.The Giants traded for Indians first baseman Ryan Garko on Monday, handing over a Class A pitching prospect in exchange for a right-handed bat who can hit lefties with some pop.In other words, everything the Giants' right corner has been missing all season."The timing is right," Giants general manager Brian Sabean said.

"This guy can drive in a run, he can hit the three-run home run.

Hopefully, he can do some of that for us."Somebody has to, and it sure hasn't been any other of the regular first basemen.

Not Travis Ishikawa, a modest .269 hitter with seven home runs.

And not John Bowker, who was optioned Monday to Triple-A Fresno with a .156 batting average.

So Garko it is, with the former Stanford star expected here as soon as today.

He'll bat fifth or sixth as a most-everyday starter."You don't acquire a player like this to sit him," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

"He's a veteran, proven hitter who's going to provide some punch.

You get a bat like this, it makes us a better lineup."His name may not scream blockbuster deal, but it's a big deal in these parts, all things considered.

If nothing else, it shows the Giants don't really think a lineup half-filled with easy outs is the surest route to the postseason.Sabean doesn't sound like he's done just yet, either.

He knows one Ryan Garko does not a murderer's row make.

Asked if this meant the Giants were done dealing, Sabean said, "I don't expect it will be."He has four more days.

Until then, chew on the trade-deadline deal at hand.In Garko, the Giants get a .285 hitter with 11 home runs and 39 RBI in 78 games.

More importantly, Sabean said, they get a player with more experience than Ishikawa and Bowker combined - a fourth-year player with a hot streak this time of year.Last season, Garko hit .352 over the final 36 games - and .410 after Sept.


This season, Garko batted .349 over the past 23 games.

For the season, he is at .333 (23 for 69) against left-handed pitching to lead the Indians."There's definitely something to be said for experience," Sabean said.

"These games will only get harder.

It can only help."It also helps that Garko won't be a one-hit wonder.

He is approaching his first year of eligibility for arbitration, which means the Giants will control his rights beyond this season.

Translation: Garko isn't a rent-a-bat, and Sabean anticipates he'll be a Giant beyond the immediate future.The deal became all the more doable when the Indians were willing to accept a Class A pitcher - left-hander Scott Barnes - in lieu of a big leagues-ready prospect.Be sure, Barnes is prospect enough.

Just 22, he went 12-3 with a 2.85 ERA, 99 strikeouts and 29 walks for San Jose.

Sabean called him a top-20 prospect who will one day play in the major leagues.

But he wasn't going to help the playoff push."I don't know if there was a move that needed to be made, but, hopefully, it's a step in the right direction," Lincecum said.E-mail David White at [email protected] article appeared on page B - 1 of the San�Francisco�Chronicle
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