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Eaton returns to team that drafted him

PHILADELPHIA -- Pitcher Adam Eaton and the Philadelphia Phillies finalized a $24.5 million, three-year contract on
Thursday.

A first-round pick by the Phillies in 1996, Eaton is 54-45 with
a 4.40 ERA in seven major league seasons. He has been on the
disabled list six times in his career, but the Phillies are banking
on the right-hander to fill out their rotation.

Eaton, who turned 29 on Thanksgiving, was 7-4 with a 5.12 ERA in
13 starts in his only season with Texas, making $4.65 million. He
won 11 games in consecutive seasons with San Diego before he was
traded to the Rangers last December.

Eaton solidifies a promising rotation that includes Brett Myers
(12-7, 3.91 ERA), Cole Hamels (9-8, 4.08), Jon Lieber (9-11, 4.93)
and Jamie Moyer (11-14, 4.30 with the Phillies and Seattle).

"He stabilizes our rotation and will complement the rest of our
staff nicely," general manager Pat Gillick said.

The Phillies' only other free-agent signing so far this
offseason was infielder Wes Helms, who got a $5.45 million,
two-year deal. Gillick wanted slugger Alfonso Soriano, but the
Chicago Cubs outbid everyone else for the five-time All-Star.

Going into next week's winter meetings, the Phillies want to
upgrade their bullpen, add a catcher and still hope to find a
right-handed hitter to protect NL MVP Ryan Howard in the middle of
the lineup.

Gillick wouldn't comment about reports that the team backed out
of a deal with reliever Joe Borowski after he was given an
extensive physical. Borowski went 3-3 with a 3.75 ERA and 36 saves
in 72 appearances for the Florida Marlins last season.

"Medical situations are tricky to talk about," Gillick said,
adding the team has made proposals to other relievers.

Eaton's best season was his final one with the Padres. He went
11-5 with a 4.27 ERA in 22 starts in 2005 after going 11-14 with a
4.61 ERA in 33 starts the previous season.

Eaton had elbow surgery in July 2001 and didn't return until the
following September. He missed several starts in '05 with a
strained middle finger and didn't make his first start with Texas
until late July because of the same finger injury.

The Phillies selected Eaton with the 11th overall pick in the
1996 amateur draft. He was among the highest-rated prospects in the
minors when Philadelphia sent him to the Padres in a four-player
deal that brought former All-Star Andy Ashby to Philadelphia on
Nov. 10, 1999.