San Francisco Craig Monroe quickly found himself back in a pennant race Thursday when the Detroit Tigers traded the slumping outfielder and cash to the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named.
Despite hitting only .222 before Detroit designated him for assignment last Friday, Monroe was productive against left-handed pitching. That's how Cubs manager Lou Piniella plans to use him.
"I think it gives us a good balance," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "It was just one of those situations where you couldn't pass up a guy who has already been there and helped lead a club to the postseason. We've had our ups and downs against lefties. It gives Lou some options here that we didn't have before by just adding one good batter against left-handed pitching."
Monroe is hitting. 302 with five homers and 22 RBIs in 102 at-bats against lefties. The NL Central-leading Cubs are just 12-19 against lefties and are batting 20 points lower as a team than against right-handers.
Monroe is versatile, too, having played all three outfield positions.
"The teams that we're playing here all have left-handed starters in their rotation," Piniella said. "He's a valuable addition. He gives us more experience. This guy has been in postseason, hit five home runs last year in the postseason, played in the World Series. It's a good move by Jim to get us that bat."
After helping the Tigers reach the World Series last year for the first time since 1984, Monroe struggled in 2007 and lost his job to Marcus Thames. Monroe had 11 homers and 55 RBIs in 99 games before being replaced by highly touted prospect Cameron Maybin.
The Cubs will send a player to Detroit by Oct. 15. Detroit is close in the AL Central and wild-card races.
Monroe is scheduled to join his new team tonight at Arizona. The Cubs designated outfielder Buck Coats to make room for Monroe
Monroe batted .255 with 28 homers and 92 RBIs last year, then tied a franchise record by hitting five home runs in the postseason.