Manager Bruce Bochy was quite familiar with Mike Leake long before the San Francisco Giants acquired him prior to the trade deadline.
He'll get a closer look at the right-hander Sunday when he makes his Giants debut in the finale of a three-game set with the Texas Rangers.
As a preteen, Leake played on a travel team out of San Diego that included Bochy's son Brett and Washington right-hander Stephen Strasburg.
"He was a good athlete then. He could pitch and played short. It was a really good club. Mike, he stood out," Bochy said. "He was the best player on the field, whether it was pitching, playing short, swinging the bat. He was their best player."
Bochy is just looking for Leake (9-5, 3.56 ERA) to excel on the mound after San Francisco (57-46) acquired him Thursday from Cincinnati for two prospects.
"He's a quality starter who's going to help us," Bochy said. "He's excited about being here. He's been throwing the ball well, good athlete. That's a great move for us to give us some depth in the rotation."
Leake, in the rotation in place of the injured Tim Hudson (shoulder), has allowed two runs and 15 hits in 30 innings while winning four straight starts, completing the eighth in three. He did that while limiting NL-leading St. Louis to four hits in Tuesday's 4-0 road win.
Leake, who spent his first five-plus seasons with the Reds, is 0-2 with a 9.60 ERA in his last three starts in AL parks. He gave up four runs - one earned - in seven innings on the road in his only career start against the Rangers in June 2013.
The Giants have won 14 of their past 17 contests to move 1 1/2 games back of NL West-leading Los Angeles.
They bounced back from Friday's 6-3 loss in the series opener by spoiling Cole Hamels' Rangers debut with a 9-7, 11-inning victory Saturday.
Hunter Pence hit the go-ahead homer to lead off the 11th after tying the game with an RBI single in a three-run eighth. He's hitting .324 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 17 road games during this injury-plagued season.
Buster Posey is on a tear with a .459 average and 12 RBIs in the last 15 games. The All-Star catcher came a triple short of the cycle Saturday, connecting for a solo homer and an RBI double. He's also put together a 13-game hitting streak on the road, batting .388 with four homers and 14 RBIs.
The Rangers (50-53), who had a three-game winning streak end Saturday, are giving Martin Perez (0-2, 10.50) a fourth chance at his first win since returning from Tommy John surgery.
The left-hander surrendered a career high-tying eight runs before getting an out in the second inning and being pulled in Tuesday's 21-5 loss to the New York Yankees.
This will be his first game against San Francisco.
Prince Fielder doubled on two of his three hits Saturday after batting .143 in his previous eight games. His .330 season average is second in the AL to Detroit's Miguel Cabrera (.350), who is on the disabled list with a calf strain.
Fielder is 2 for 8 with a homer against Leake, while Shin-soo Choo is 3 for 5 with two home runs and a double.
Choo is 6 for 14 with a homer and two doubles in his last four games.