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Hillenbrand to be dealt to Blue Jays

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks agreed with left-hander
Shawn Estes on a $2.5 million, one-year contract and were close to
trading Shea Hillenbrand to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Both deals were expected to be announced Wednesday, according to
a baseball official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Estes turned down a significantly more lucrative, two-year offer
from the Washington Nationals and a one-year deal with an option
from the San Diego Padres, largely because he wanted to play close
to his home in the upscale Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley.

Estes and his wife, Heather, have two sons, ages 15 months and 3
months.

Estes, who turns 32 in February, was 15-8 with a 5.84 ERA for
the Colorado Rockies last season. He becomes the third newcomer to
the rotation for a vastly revamped Diamondbacks team after Arizona lost 111 games last year.

The rotation, as it stands now, includes Russ Ortiz, signed as a
free agent, and Javier Vazquez, acquired from the New York Yankees
in the Randy Johnson deal. The other starter, either third or
fourth in the rotation, is holdover Brandon Webb. All but Estes are
right-handers.

Hillenbrand is to be traded to Toronto for right-hander Adam Peterson, who struggled in his brief major league stint last season
but has a fastball in the mid-90s range. Peterson had a 2.54 ERA
and 15 saves with Double-A New Hampshire.

Hillenbrand hit a team-best .309 for Arizona last season with 15
home runs and 80 RBI, but after earning $2.6 million last year he
is eligible for arbitration, so the trade will be a money-saver for
the Diamondbacks, who want a payroll of about $65 million next
season.

Chad Tracy, who played third base as a rookie last season, is a
leading candidate to take Hillenbrand's place at first.

The Diamondbacks also are talking to the Oakland Athletics about
acquiring Eric Byrnes to play center field. Byrnes hit .283 with 20
homers and 73 RBI for the A's last season.

Center field is the last spot open after the team's overhaul.
Arizona has Luis Gonzalez in left and newly acquired Shawn Green in right.

The infield, other than first base, is made up free-agent
acquisitions Troy Glaus at third base, Royce Clayton at shortstop
and Craig Counsell at second.