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Phils Send Gant To Angels

Ron Gant no longer plays for the Philadelphia Phillies, though he hasn't left the team just yet.

Four days after trading ace Curt Schilling to Arizona, the Phillies dealt Gant to Anaheim for right-hander Kent Bottenfield on Sunday.

Gant, however, is riding the team charter to San Diego en route to joining the Angels.

"I'm still saying `us' instead of `them'," said Gant, a favorite of Phillies manager Terry Francona. "I told Terry if we played in the World Series, I'd try to steal their signs, but I didn't know them anyway."

Gant, 35, led the Phillies with 20 homers, including six since the All-Star break. He batted .254 with 38 RBIs.

Bottenfield, acquired from St. Louis in the offseason for Jim Edmonds, is 7-8 with a 5.71 ERA. He has won three of his last four decisions, including a 6-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night.

"I'm not surprised," Bottenfield said before leaving for San Diego to join the Phillies. "I knew it was coming, I've known for the last week something was going to happen.

"I'm going to a team with a lot of talent. My first choice was to stay here. If I had to leave here, my desire was to go back to the National League, where I'm more familiar with the hitters."

The trade allows the Phillies to play Travis Lee in left field. Lee, acquired in the Schilling deal, got his first start Sunday and drove in his first run with the Phillies.

"My initial reaction to Bottenfield was: `I don't know.' I know he's struggled this year but he had a good season last year," Phillies general manager Ed Wade said. "But when Gordon Lakey (a Phillies scout) gives his evaluation and we get more information and analyze where we are, it seemed to make more sense to pursue that type of move rather than get young prospects."

Gant did not start Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and was informed of the deal during the game.

"We obviously needed a right-handed bat to help us," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's versatile, he can play the outfield, he can DH, neutralize some left-handed pitching. And he provides veteran leadership, he's been around for a while.

"He's going to get his at-bats, he's going to contribute, there's no doubt about that. I expect him to get a lot of at-bats for us."

The Angls said Gant would join them prior to Monday night's game against Detroit. Scioscia said the impressive efforts of several young pitchers allowed his team to make the deal.

The Phillies still have a logjam at first base where rookie Pat Burrell has replaced Rico Brogna. Lee, a slick-fielding first baseman, may end up at first with Burrell moving to left at some point.

Francona said Lee will play left field for now.

"That's great," Lee said. "Left field is kind of different, especially the throwing. You kind of throw across your body. I've been playing a lot of right field. I'm going to go out and do a lot of work."

Philadelphia has been actively shopping Brogna, who lost his job after breaking a bone in his wrist on May 10. The Boston Red Sox are believed to be most interested.

Wade spoke with Brogna before the game to update him on his situation, but would not say if any deal was imminent.

Bottenfield is expected to join a rotation that suddenly finds itself without an ace. The Phillies dealt Andy Ashby to Atlanta earlier this month.

Bottenfield, 31, was an All-Star last season when he was 18-7 with a 3.97 ERA for the Cardinals.

"We added an experienced pitcher, but it could turn out to be short-term because he's a free agent after the year," Wade said, adding that's it's "way too premature" to discuss a contract extension.

Gant, acquired from St. Louis in November 1998, is in the final year of a five-year contract that pays him $5 million this season. St. Louis is paying a portion of his salary, and it is believed the Phillies will pay a portion of the remainder of his contract.

"I'm willing to take on any role," Gant said about possibly being a designated hitter in Anaheim. "My bat will complement their left-hand hitters."

Bottenfield, who signed a $4 million, one-year contract in January, is 43-42 lifetime with a 4.42 ERA in 271 games. He is joining his seventh team in nine seasons.

Bottenfield's 18 victories last year equaled his career total. Ironically, Schilling, Philadelphia's ace since 1992, has never won more than 17 games in a season. He was 17-11 in 1997.

"We set up better this way, because there is enough pressure on young guys to get their feet on the ground in a new environment, particularly a guy like Travis, who comes over here in a high profile trade," Wade said. "Giving him an opportunity to play to know that every day or just about every day he'll be in the lineup should benefit him."

Before leaving, Gant jokingly ripped the city's efforts to build a baseball-only stadium in Philadelphia.

"I know they are trying to get more pitching, get some young players to get ready for he new ballpark ... in 2020," Gant said.

The stadium situation has been stuck in neutral for months while the city continues to debate a site.

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