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Padres acquire Huber from Royals

Padres acquire Huber from Royals

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PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres were already long on outfielders when they acquired Justin Huber from the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday, though they still addressed a need or two in consummating the trade.

The Padres added the 25-year-old Huber for cash considerations or a player to be named later, a small price, Towers said, to land a player that he had long been interested in and one who could fill a need as a right-handed bat off the bench.

"We've had interest in this guy the last couple of years," Towers said of Huber, who has a .204 batting average in 90 career Major League at-bats.

"He's always posted very good numbers in the Minors. He has very good power and we really didn't have a right-handed threat [off the bench]."

Huber, who can play left and right field, first base in a pinch and can even play catcher, was hitting .346 this spring with the Royals and actually had a two-run double in a game on Tuesday against the Padres in Peoria.

The Royals could afford to part with Huber -- a native Australian -- because they simply had no room for him in their outfield. Huber made the conversion to the outfield in 2006 after beginning his career as a catcher with a move later to first base.

Huber was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the New York Mets in 2000. He was traded to Kansas City in 2004, where he won the Texas League batting title one year later in 2005.

Over parts of seven Minor League seasons in the Mets (2001-04) and Royals (2005-07) organizations, Huber is a career .288 hitter in the Minor Leagues with 107 home runs, including 18 in 286 at-bats last season with Triple-A Omaha.

"He comes with a good bat, has some right-handed power, can play right and left, some first and off the bench gives us a nice weapon," Padres manager Bud Black said.

In a perfect world, Royals general manager Dayton Moore said, there would have been a spot for Huber on the team. But there wasn't and since Huber was out of Minor League options, this was a way for the Royals to get something in return for him.

"There are three things that always have to happen to make a team," Moore said. "They've got to have ability, which he has. You've got to perform, which he has. And the next thing is there has to be opportunity.

"And for us, the way our club was shaping up, we just didn't see any opportunity for him to be on our team. He was out of options, and I just wish we had more time, because he had a terrific spring and we think he's going to be a good hitter. It just didn't work out."

Huber figures to be in uniform for the Padres' game against Seattle on Thursday, the last game before the team breaks camp and heads home for an exhibition game on Friday at PETCO Park against the Angels.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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