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Schilling coming home to Arizona

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PHILADELPHIA — After three years of endless rumors, Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ed Wade announced that Curt Schilling indeed was traded. The problem was Wade forgot to which team.

The Phillies traded the ace right-hander to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday for first baseman-outfielder Travis Lee and pitchers Omar Daal, Vicente Padilla and Nelson Figueroa.

"Curt Schilling has been traded to the Toronto Blue Jays," Wade said before realizing the mistake. "I'm sorry. It's been one of those days."

Wade did make a deal with Toronto, sending reserve outfielder Rob Ducey to the Blue Jays for a player to be named. But that was nothing compared to the blockbuster with Arizona that gives the Diamondbacks a 1-2 pitching punch of Randy Johnson and Schilling.

"Koufax and Drysdale come to mind," Arizona general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. said. "I'll take these two guys."

Schilling, who for three seasons had openly campaigned to be dealt to a contender, got his wish and is going home to Phoenix.

Arizona, the defending NL West champion, is in first place, one game ahead of San Francisco. Schilling will make his Diamondbacks' debut Friday at Florida.

"I made up 12, 13 games in the standings in one day," Schilling said.

Schilling, who admitted he envied Andy Ashby after the Phillies traded the right-hander to the Atlanta Braves on July 12, is likely to pitch against Ashby next Wednesday.

They could face each other in the playoffs as well.

Schilling's job is to help Arizona get there.

"With the addition of Curt, it'll make things a lot easier for everybody," Johnson said. "Maybe we can push one another, too."

As part of the deal, Schilling waived his right to demand a trade following the season, a power given to veterans traded while under a multiyear contract.

"He can only pitch once every fifth day," Arizona manager Buck Showalter said before the Diamondbacks' 8-4 loss to St. Louis. "Hopefully, this will be a new chapter for us. We've taken a lot of blows after 100 games and we're still standing."

Schilling, considered by some to be a disruptive force in the clubhouse for his outspoken views and trade demands, will be missed in Philadelphia.

"He's a premier pitcher. You can't replace a guy like that," Doug Glanville said.

The Phillies went 22-48 when Schilling was on the disabled list the past two seasons. They haven't fared much better with him.

The last-place Phillies haven't finished above .500 since 1993, when Schilling won 16 games and helped lead them to the World Series.

"I'm not sure how I feel," Phillies manager Terry Francona said about the deal. "If anybody appreciates how good he's been, it's me. I understand it. I hope it turns out to be the best thing that's ever happened to the Phillies."

Daal, 16-9 last season with a 3.65 ERA, is 2-10 with a 7.22 ERA this year and has lost his spot in the starting rotation. He will start for the Phillies on Friday.

"I know that I have not had a good year this year," Daal said. "They need someone to be a starter and Schilling is a great starter. That's how it works."

Francona hopes pitching coach Galen Cisco can turn Daal's season around.

"Every time we've seen him, he's tied us in knots," Francona said.

The left-handed hitting Lee was signed to a then-record $10 million signing bonus by Arizona before its 1998 expansion season. He was considered the cornerstone of the young franchise, but he has struggled at the plate the last two seasons.

Francona said he doesn't know what he plans to do with Lee, who was optioned to Triple-A Tucson on July 16 to work on his hitting.

The Phillies are looking to deal left fielder Ron Gant and first baseman Rico Brogna to pave the way for Lee and rookie phenom Pat Burrell.

Schilling's strong desire for a trade and his contract status — he'll be a free agent after the 2001 season — forced Wade to shop him.

Monday is the deadline for making deals without waivers. Schilling told the Phillies he'd waive his no-trade clause to go to Arizona, Atlanta, St. Louis, the New York Yankees or New York Mets.

Schilling is making $5.65 million this season and is signed for next season at $6.5 million.

"The reality of the deal is that we are giving up, obviously, one of the top starting pitchers in all of baseball," Phillies general manager Ed Wade said. "In getting these four players, we answer a lot of needs. Did we get Curt Schilling back in this deal? Obviously we didn't."

Schilling (6-6) began clearing out his locker Tuesday. The three-time All-Star had shoulder surgery in the offseason and struggled at first after rejoining the Phillies.

However, he has pitched complete games in three of his last four starts. He is 5-2 with a 2.00 ERA in his last eight starts, six of them Phillies victories. He has lasted at least seven innings in his last eight starts.

"In the last week and a half, I heard enough rumblings that I knew it was going to happen," Schilling said.

Schilling had been with the Phillies since 1992, when he was acquired from Houston for right-hander Jason Grimsley.

Padilla, 22, has been strong out of the bullpen this season and the Diamondbacks had projected him as a possible starter in the future. He is 2-1 with a 2.31 ERA and could serve as a closer for Philadelphia.

"If I could have acquired Curt Schilling for a rosin bag and a cracked fungo, that would have been the deal I would have made," Garagiola said. "Unfortunately, real life doesn't work that way."

Figueroa, 26, considered Arizona's best pitcher at Tucson, made a couple of appearances for the Diamondbacks this season. He was 0-2 with a 7.47 ERA for the Diamondbacks.

"We got some good young players and we have to get them going," Francona said.