PHILADELPHIA -- Aaron Rowand just bought a house in Philadelphia and admits to boxes still being strewn about the basement. "I haven't really seen the floor there too much, yet," he said. He was not thrilled about the possibility of placing a "for sale" out front, so it's safe to color Rowand happy to still be Philadelphia's center fielder. Though he said he didn't pay attention to the rumors surrounding his changing addresses, he's OK with the way things turned out.
"I always planned on getting ready for next season, and heading to Clearwater, [Fla., where the Phillies train for Spring Training], unless someone told me different," Rowand said. "I like it there and have a house here. We have a good team, and adding Chief is huge." "Chief" is what Rowand calls pitcher Freddy Garcia, because, "I don't know, he just looks like a chief." The right-hander was acquired late Wednesday night from the White Sox in a deal in which Rowand was nearly included. Instead, Chicago took Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez, and Rowand gets to be reunited with a player who helped the White Sox to a World Series Championship in 2005. "It's an early Christmas present, no doubt," Rowand said. "He's a big-game pitcher, no doubt. He brings a lot to the table and is a great guy in the clubhouse. He's going to fit in nicely here." Garcia provides the Phillies with a hurler who's thrown at least 200 innings in seven of his eight big-league seasons and has won 18 games once, 17 games twice and 16 games once. He's also 6-2 in nine postseason starts. By not including Rowand, Philadelphia kept a premier defensive outfielder and right-handed bat -- and a great clubhouse influence. For those reasons, the Phillies were reluctant to deal Rowand. Assistant general manager Mike Arbuckle said the Phillies' outfield will likely consist of Pat Burrell, Rowand and Shane Victorino, left to right. For his part, Rowand says his left ankle -- which he broke in Chicago in August, ending his season -- is fine, and he's been working out daily to get ready. On Friday, he was reached as he was on his way to go hit. He was happy to hear that he was still wanted. "That's a great compliment to get," he said. "It's nice to know that people appreciate what you bring to the table."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.