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Unclear if Phillies will keep pitcher

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Phillies want Kevin
Millwood back for 2004. They're not ready commit beyond one year.

Phillies general manager Ed Wade made it clear Monday he didn't
offer salary arbitration to Millwood just to ensure the team would
get an amateur draft pick as compensation if the right-hander signed
elsewhere.

"We absolutely hope Kevin comes back and pitches for us in
2004," Wade said. "We're prepared to begin discussion on a
one-year contract."

Millwood, who made $9.9 million last season, has until Dec. 19
to accept arbitration. If he does, he could join All-Star Randy
Wolf, former All-Star Vicente Padilla, promising right-hander Brett Myers and Milton to form one of the best rotations in baseball.

If Millwood doesn't accept arbitration, the Phillies still would
have until Jan. 8 to sign him. The Phillies will receive draft-pick
compensation if Millwood signs elsewhere.

Philadelphia had offered Millwood a three-year deal worth about
$30 million, but took it off the table after acquiring Milton, a
former All-Star, on Wednesday.

A former All-Star with Atlanta, Millwood went 14-12 with a 4.01
ERA for the Phillies last year, and pitched a no-hitter against San
Francisco on April 27.

He had a poor finish, going 0-3 with two no-decisions in his
last five starts, including two disappointing outings against
eventual World Series winner Florida with the wild card at stake.

Millwood was acquired from Atlanta for minor-league catcher
Johnny Estrada last December in a cost-cutting move by the Braves.

The Phillies also offered arbitration to left-handed reliever
Dan Plesac. They didn't offer arbitration to former closer Jose
Mesa, catcher Kelly Stinnett and relievers Turk Wendell, Terry
Adams and Mike Williams. Earlier Sunday, the Phillies signed backup
catcher Todd Pratt to a one-year, $875,000 contract.

Mesa is the Phillies' all-time leader with 111 saves. But he
struggled last season, losing his job twice. He finished 5-7 with a
6.52 ERA and 24 saves in 28 chances. Mesa made $5.2 million last
year.

Williams was 0-4 with a 5.96 ERA and three saves after coming to
the Phillies from Pittsburgh in July. Williams, who went to the
All-Star game for the second time last season, earned $3.5 million.

Wendell was 3-3 with a 3.38 ERA and one save in 56 games. He
pitched poorly after coming to the Phillies from the New York Mets
during the 2001 season, and sat out 2002 with an elbow injury.
Wendell made $3.35 million last year.

Adams had his best season in his nine-year career, going 1-4
with a 2.65 ERA in 66 games. He had elbow surgery on Sept. 22 and
missed the rest of the season. Adams made $2.9 million.

Plesac, who'll be 42 in February, was 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA and
two saves in 58 games. Pratt hit .272 with four homers and 20 RBIs
in 125 at-bats, backing up Mike Lieberthal. Stinnett hit .429
(3-for-7) after coming to the Phillies in a trade with Cincinnati
on Aug. 31.