Phils clarify David Montgomery's role

After months of uncertainty, the Philadelphia Phillies clarified the status of longtime team president David Montgomery on Wednesday, by announcing he would return to work as the team's chairman.

Pat Gillick, who has served as interim team president since Montgomery took a medical leave of absence last August, will continue on as president, the team said, and will no longer have the tag of "interim" as part of his title.

Former club president Bill Giles, who had held the title of chairman since 2001, will now be the club's chairman emeritus.

Montgomery's future with the team has been in question since Aug. 28, when he stepped down as president and CEO while he underwent treatment for jaw cancer. At the time, the team announced he would return as president "when he is fully recovered."

Instead, Montgomery will come back in a less rigorous role.

He told ESPN.com on Wednesday that he will remain active in working with sponsors, fans and civic endeavors, and he will continue to work on several MLB committees under new commissioner Rob Manfred. But Montgomery said that day-to-day baseball operations of the Phillies will now be in Gillick's hands.

"I can certainly express my opinion," he said. "But they won't carry the same weight on the baseball side." Montgomery said the decision to return in a different role was one that "evolved" over the past five months, "from a question of 'when' to a question of 'in what capacity.'"

He said that even before his health issues, he'd been in discussions with the club's ownership group about how much longer he would continue as president.

"Now," he said, "rather than having to figure out who does what in two years, this is a role I can maybe play longer, with less intensity."

Gillick has said on numerous occasions that he did not intend to assume the job as president long-term and repeated that sentiment as recently as last week. The team did not specify how much longer he will serve in that role. However, a source told ESPN.com he is likely to remain on through at least the end of this season, while the club embarks on a major rebuilding program.