Hunter considered signing with Phillies before Tigers

Hunter considered signing with Phillies before Tigers
February 24, 2013, 1:15 pm
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SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Feb. 25, Tigers at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN

Feb. 26, Yankees at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN

Feb. 28, Braves at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN

Mar. 3, Blue Jays at Phillies, 1 p.m., CSN

Mar. 5, World Baseball Classic, 1 p.m., CSN

Mar. 6, Nationals at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN

Mar. 7, Twins at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN

Mar. 12, Tigers at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN

Mar. 14, Pirates at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN

Mar. 17, Orioles at Phillies, 1 p.m., CSN

Mar. 19, Yankees at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN

Mar. 22, Braves at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN

Mar. 26, Rays at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN

Mar. 28, Blue Jays at Phillies, 1 p.m., TCN

Mar. 29, Blue Jays at Phillies, 7 p.m., TCN

LAKELAND, Fla. – If things had turned out different this winter, Torii Hunter might have been playing right field for the Phillies instead of the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.

“I considered it – big time,” Hunter said of the Phillies’ attempt to sign him as a free agent in the offseason. “Some of my favorite guys are over there, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins.”

Hunter disclosed that the Phillies were the first team to contact his agent, Larry Reynolds, this winter.

“They reached out quick,” he said.

The Phillies had extensive dealings with Reynolds this winter. He also represents B.J. Upton. The Phillies were outbid by Atlanta for Upton and Detroit locked up Hunter with a two-year, $26 million deal.

“They stepped up,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said of the Tigers. “We had great conversations with Larry about both players.”

Hunter, 37, has averaged 24 homers and 88 RBIs the last 12 seasons while hitting .278. Once a premier centerfielder, he now plays mostly corner outfield. He would have been a fit for the Phillies, who sought a righthanded corner bat this winter. They ended up signing Delmon Young, who is still rehabbing from offseason ankle surgery and probably won’t be ready until some time in April.

“The Tigers acted quick,” Hunter said. “But the Phillies were in it. They are a great team and a great organization. I’m an American League guy and I liked the familiarity I had with the league. I grew up in the AL Central (with Minnesota) so I’m familiar with the division.”

Hunter batted second in the Tigers' lineup against the Phillies on Sunday.