<
>

Mets would send Phillips to Dodgers

With Steve Trachsel out at least three months with a back injury, the New York Mets are closing in on acquiring Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Kazuhisa Ishii to fill the void. The Mets would send backup catcher Jason Phillips to the Dodgers for Ishii.

Sources around the Mets camp Saturday confirmed the deal is very close to being completed, ESPN Insider's Jerry Crasnick reports.

Phillips' postgame comments Saturday hinted that agreement on a trade is more than likely.

"I went to throw on the back field and they said, 'Don't throw today,' " Phillips told reporters.

Mets assistant general manager Jim Duquette was more vague in his comments.

"It's a fluid process and it's hard to predict whether we'll have anything to report," he said. "We're trying to improve the club and it's a situation where we could have something to report, or not."

Despite control problems, Ishii has won 36 games for the Dodgers over the past three seasons. The Mets would rely on pitching coach Rick Peterson to help Ishii work through problems with his mechanics.

The Dodgers have a glaring need at catcher after trading Paul Lo Duca last season. Phillips is hitting a team-leading .550 for the Mets this spring after slumping last year.

"I've been with the Mets nine years. What do [the Dodgers] wear, blue shoes? I haven't owned a pair of blue shoes since high school," Phillips joked Saturday.

According to the Bergen Record, the Mets will inherit a $3.23 million salary this year for Ishii, who has two more years on his contract.

Jerry Crasnick covers baseball for ESPN Insider. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.