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Giants heighten interest in Hudson

Giants heighten interest in Hudson

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' pursuit of free-agent second baseman Orlando Hudson, previously considered casual, is apparently serious.

Two industry sources said on Thursday that the Giants have reaffirmed their interest in Hudson, who is widely regarded as the leading free agent available at his position.

No deal is imminent, as is the case with the other free agents atop the Giants' shopping list, including left-hander CC Sabathia, shortstops Rafael Furcal and Edgar Renteria and, possibly, right-hander Juan Cruz. But the Giants' signing on Monday of left-hander Jeremy Affeldt -- the first free agent to come to terms -- demonstrated the club's intent to seek talent aggressively this offseason.

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Hudson, who turns 31 on Dec. 12, is among the Majors' most multidimensional infielders. The three-time Gold Glove winner hit a career-high .305 last season with eight home runs, 41 RBIs and a .367 on-base percentage for the Arizona Diamondbacks. A switch-hitter, Hudson owns a lifetime .282 average.

Hudson plays one of several positions where the Giants seek an offensive upgrade. Their second basemen ranked last in the National League with five home runs, 14th with 78 runs and 12th with a .707 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging).

Injuries have plagued Hudson recently. A torn ligament in his left thumb forced him to undergo season-ending surgery on Sept. 10, 2007. Last season, left ankle and left wrist ailments limited him to 107 games.

Hudson, who earned $6.25 million last season, is a Type A free agent, which would require the Giants to surrender their second-round selection in June's First-Year Player Draft to the D-backs.

Were the Giants to acquire Hudson, Kevin Frandsen, who has been considered a leading candidate to man second base, likely would be tried at third.

Chris Haft 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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