Padres Send Ashby To Philly

Andy Ashby, a two-time All-Star who resurrected his career in San Diego, was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night for three pitchers in a cost-cutting move by the Padres.

The Padres received Carlton Loewer, Steve Montgomery and prospect Adam Eaton for Ashby. The deal was announced at the general managers' meetings.

Ashby has veto power over the trade, but said he would likely accept the deal.

"You hate to leave somewhere where you've been so long and what we've been through there," Ashby said from his home in Pittston, Pa. "But I knew it was going to happen."

"It's going to be nice, I hope," he said. "I want to go back and definitely help them go where they want to go and help them win."

The 32-year-old right-hander began his career in the Phillies organization in 1986. He went 2-8 with the big league club in 1991-92 and was taken by Colorado in the 1992 expansion draft.

After going 0-4 with an 8.50 ERA with the Rockies in 1993, he was acquired as the player to be named in the final move of the Padres' Fire Sale, coming over with catcher Brad Ausmus and pitcher Doug Bochtler for pitchers Bruce Hurst and Greg Harris.

Ashby went 70-62 with the Padres, but is still under .500 for his career at 72-74. He was 17-9 with a 3.34 ERA as the Padres reached the World Series in 1998, then went 14-10 with a 3.80 in 1999.

Ashby regained his spot as the staff ace when Kevin Brown left as a free agent for the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. He led the Padres with 14 victories and four complete games.

Padres general manager Kevin Towers has been intent on trading Ashby, due to make $5.9 million in 2000, the final year of his contract.

The Padres say they need to make substantial payroll cuts, and feared that Ashby could seek as much as $8 million per season in his next contract.

San Diego had a $48 million payroll last year, when it fell from defending NL champion to fourth place in the NL West. Counting Ashby, the Padres were already on the hook for $47.3 million in salaries for 14 players next year.

"It's hard. I'm not on the book side of it," Ashby said. "I know they got the new stadium and are building for that, but they ran into a situation where they had to cut some payroll and I happen to fall into that category."

Loewer, a 26-year-old right-hander, was 2-6 wth a 5.12 ERA in 20 games, 13 of them starts. The Phillies' top pick in the June 1994 draft missed nearly four months because of a stress fracture in his right humerus bone.

Montgomery, 28, was 1-5 with three saves and a 3.34 ERA. The righty made 53 relief appearances.

Eaton, 22 later this month, played at Class A Clearwater, Double-A Reading and Triple-A Scranton and was a combined 11-10. The right-hander was Philadelphia's No. 1 pick in the 1996 draft.

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