The Angels and San Diego Padres have agreed on the principal players in a trade that would send Angel utility player Phil Nevin to San Diego for utility infielder Andy Sheets, and the deal, according to baseball sources, is expected to be finalized today.
Nevin was in the lineup for Sunday's 6-4 exhibition loss to the Colorado Rockies in Tucson, Ariz., but when he got to Hi Corbett Field, he was scratched. In the sixth inning, Manager Terry Collins told Nevin to return to the Angel spring training complex in Tempe.
Nevin was under the assumption that he caught Friday against San Diego so the Padres, who lost starting catcher Carlos Hernandez for the season because of injury, could get a closer look at him behind the plate.
"They haven't told me it's official," Nevin said, "but when you're told you're going into a game so someone else can see you play, and when you come all the way [to Tucson] and don't play when you're supposed to start, how am I supposed to feel?"
Angel General Manager Bill Bavasi would not comment. When asked why Nevin was held out of Sunday's game, he said, "That's none of your business."
The Angels are expected to trade for Sheets, a 27 year old who can play all four infield positions but is most proficient at shortstop, because they are apparently not satisfied with the development of utility players Jeff Huson, Andy Stankiewicz and Luis Rivera.
Sheets hit .242 with seven homers and 29 RBIs for the National League-champion Padres last season, but his strikeouts (62) were high for his at-bats (194). He played in 88 games, starting 26 at shortstop and 15 at second base.
Sheets has above-average speed and a strong throwing arm, and in three big league seasons with Seattle and San Diego, he has a .229 average with 11 homers, 47 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. His career fielding percentage is .952.
It was not known Sunday how the acquisition of Sheets would impact the Angels' plan of using third baseman Troy Glaus as a temporary replacement for injured shortstop Gary DiSarcina.
Nevin, who also plays third base, first base and the outfield, entered spring training hoping to compete for the starting catching job, but the Angels, convinced they have enough catching with Todd Greene, Matt Walbeck and veteran Charlie O'Brien, used Nevin more as an infielder and outfielder.
"I definitely felt their view of me as a catcher was different than mine," said Nevin, who would back up two former Angel catchers in San Diego, Jim Leyritz and Greg Myers.
"If someone wants to trade for me to be a catcher, I look at this as a positive, that the hard work I put into this paid off. I felt like I put myself in a good position to catch a lot here. Obviously they felt differently."
It wasn't as bad as his previous start, when he gave up six runs in three innings, but Angel right-hander Ken Hill was not real sharp against the Rockies on Sunday, giving up three runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings, walking five and striking out two. Hill's next start will be against the Dodgers in Friday night's Freeway Series game in Edison Field. . . . Darin Erstad and Troy Glaus each tripled and scored for the Angels on Sunday.