Milton added to 20-something rotation

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Phillies acquired
left-hander Eric Milton from the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday for
reliever Carlos Silva and utility infielder Nick Punto.

The Twins also get a minor leaguer to be named after the Rule 5 draft, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports.

Milton, who won 41 games from 2000-02, started just three games
last season after having surgery on his left knee during spring

He returned late in the season and went 1-0 in three
starts with a 2.65 ERA. The Twins acquired him from the New York
Yankees in 1998 along with Brian Buchanan, Cristian Guzman and
Daniel Mota in exchange for Chuck Knoblach.

A former first-round pick of the New York Yankees in 1996,
Milton was an All-Star in 2001 when he went 15-7 with a 4.32 ERA.
He also pitched a no-hitter in 1999 for the Twins.

"I'm happy for the opportunity. I'm glad the Phillies wanted me
this badly," Milton said. "I'm just going to come there and try
to win."

The Phillies have been seeking another starter for the top of
their rotation since Kevin Millwood filed for free agency last
month. Philadelphia was interested in Curt Schilling, but the
right-hander went to Boston in a trade with Arizona last week.

Phillies general manager Ed Wade also spoke to representatives
for free agents Andy Pettitte and Bartolo Colon.

Wade said the team probably will not offer arbitration to
Millwood before Sunday's midnight deadline, but wouldn't rule out
the possibility. The Phillies had offered Millwood a three-year
deal believed to be worth $30 million with a club option for a
fourth season.

"Eric is a quality left-handed starter who will definitely be a
plus for us in 2004," Wade said. "Our scouts, particularly Gordon
Lakey and Charlie Manuel, really like this guy. We like the thought
of having two left-handed starters near the top of the rotation."

Milton, 28, joins All-Star left-hander Randy Wolf, former
All-Star right-hander Vicente Padilla and promising right-hander
Brett Myers in the Phillies' rotation. Milton will make $9 million
next year and will be eligible for free agency after the season

Milton was the second pitcher to leave the AL Central champion
Twins on Wednesday.

Earlier Wednesday, the Chicago Cubs announced they had signed
free agent reliever LaTroy Hawkins away from Minnesota.

By trading Milton, the Twins are trying to make room to re-sign
their top two free agents, All-Star closer Eddie Guardado and
outfielder Shannon Stewart. General manager Terry Ryan added that
it gives Minnesota more flexibility to go after other players.

"It gives us the ability to at least pursue that," Ryan said.
"You've got to give up something to get something."

It's been reported that the Twins are also interested in trading
outfielder Jacque Jones to make more room. Ryan is working with a
payroll of about $56 million.

"I'm not even going to address that," Ryan said.

It's the second major trade of the offseason for the Phillies,
who acquired All-Star closer Billy Wagner from Houston last month.
Philadelphia won 86 games and finished 15 games behind NL East
champion Atlanta last season.

The once-stingy Phillies have turned into free-spenders as they
prepare to move into a new stadium in April. They signed free agent
first baseman Jim Thome to an $85 million contract last season and
later gave left fielder Pat Burrell a $50 million contract extension.

"I'm very happy with what we've done so far," Phillies manager
Larry Bowa said. "Our four starters, I'm not afraid to go to war
with them."

Milton, a Pennsylvania native, has compiled a 57-51 record with
a 4.76 ERA in six seasons with the Twins. He was traded to
Minnesota in a deal that sent second baseman Chuck Knoblauch to the
Yankees in 1998.

"He's a very good pitcher, a classic left-hander," said
Phillies pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, who saw Milton in the
American League and who was with him on the 2000 Japan All-Star
tour. "Eric has a solid, clean delivery with good arm speed and a
very good change-up. He's quality."

Silva, 24, pitched in 62 games last season, including one start,
and 68 games in 2002, compiling an 8-1 record with a 3.83 ERA.

Punto, 26, shuttled between Philadelphia and Triple-A Scranton
over the last two seasons. He led the Red Barons in stolen bases in
2002 (42) and hit .315 in 25 games with them last year. Punto was a
versatile bench player with the Phillies, playing second base,
third base and shortstop.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.