ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Outfielder Torii Hunter and the Los Angeles Angels reached a preliminary agreement Wednesday night on a five-year contract thought to be worth at least $80 million.
The agreement is subject to a physical.
``They play the game the right way,'' Hunter said. ``They play hard-nosed baseball.''
The 32-year-old becomes the much-needed hitter the AL West champions sought to protect Vladimir Guerrero in the batting order. Hunter hit .297 with 28 homers and 107 RBIs for the Minnesota Twins this year and is a seven-time Gold Glove winner.
``Not only is he an outstanding ballplayer but he's also an outstanding human being. He'll impact our ballclub and community in a very positive way,'' new Angels general manager Tony Reagins said.
Two days earlier, the Angels traded Gold Glove shortstop Orlando Cabrera to the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Jon Garland.
With Guerrero in right and Garret Anderson in left, the move leaves no space in the starting outfield for Gary Matthews Jr. The Angels said the center fielder, who signed a $50 million, five-year deal as a free agent last offseason, could see time at designated hitter and spell the corner outfielders.
Matthews was sent human growth hormone in 2004 from a pharmacy being investigated for illegal distribution of performance-enhancing drugs, The Times Union of Albany, N.Y., reported last winter. Matthews denied using HGH, which was not banned by baseball for players with major league contracts until 2005.
With Hunter gone, the low-budget Twins' attention turns to two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana. His contract expires after the 2008 season, and other teams think Minnesota will make him available if he doesn't agree to an extension.
Hunter said he also had negotiated seriously with the Texas Rangers, but he thought they were a year or two from contending. The Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals also were interested.
Staying with the Twins wasn't a real option.
``Sometimes it's time to move on,'' Hunter said. ``Sometimes your welcome is gone.''
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