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Major League Baseball

AP source: Phillies acquire lefty Lee from Indians

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 23, 2013 at 04:20 AM
PHILADELPHIA -

Looking for a top starter to bolster their so-so rotation, the Philadelphia Phillies acquired reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee from the Indians.

The defending World Series champions are sending Cleveland four minor league prospects for Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco, a baseball official familiar with the trade told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The deal is pending medical reviews. Those reviews could take a while because three of the players the Indians are getting from Philadelphia have dealt with recent injuries.

The NL East-leading Phillies are sending Triple-A pitcher Carlos Carrasco, infielder Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson along with Single-A pitcher Jason Knapp to Cleveland.

The deal means the Indians have traded the reigning American League CY Young winner two straight seasons, as last year Cleveland sent CC Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers. Sabathia, however, was in the final year of his contract. He helped pitched the Brewers into the postseason before signing a $161 million, seven-year contract with the New York Yankees.

Lee turns 31 next month and his contract includes an $8 million club option for next season.

Philadelphia pursued Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay, but shifted their attention to Lee because Toronto's asking price for the six-time All-Star is high. The Phillies were reluctant to trade top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek, a right-handed pitcher who was the 18th overall pick in the 2006 amateur draft.

Lee gives the Phillies another top starter to join Cole Hamels. The left-hander is 7-9 with a 3.14 ERA in 22 starts this season after going 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA last year. Hamels, who was MVP of the World Series and NLCS last fall, has been inconsistent this season. He's 7-5 with a 4.42 ERA, though he pitched well in a Tuesday night victory over the Diamondbacks.

The Phillies have a comfortable lead in the division - seven games ahead of second-place Florida going into Wednesday's games. They've sought pitching help since No. 2 starter Brett Myers had hip surgery in June. Forty-six-year-old Jamie Moyer leads the staff with 10 wins, but he has a 5.32 ERA.

Francisco is batting .250 with 10 homers and 33 RBIs. He upgrades Philadelphia's bench, which has lacked a solid, right-handed hitter.

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