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Amaro searching for veteran corner outfielder

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PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. continues to make calls and send text messages and emails in search of a veteran corner outfielder.

He understands it would be risky to enter the season without one.

"We've had several talks with free agents, although they're limited now," Amaro said Friday. "We've also talked about some possible trades. We're staying active as far as that is concerned. We're still trying to improve, depth-wise, in our outfield, if we can. We don't have proven everyday Major League players on our corners right now. If we can create some depth there, if we can create some competition, I would like to do that."

The Phillies have been pursuing free-agent outfielder Scott Hairston and Angels outfielder Vernon Wells. They remain possibilities.

Hairston, 32, hit .263 with 20 home runs, 57 RBIs and an .803 OPS last season with the Mets. Phillies fans might remember he hit .320 with six homers, nine RBIs and a 1.130 OPS in 16 games against their team last season. Hairston has a career .751 OPS, but a career .825 OPS against left-handed pitchers. The Phils have been looking for a right-handed hitter with pop, and Hairston would fit that bill. He also has versatility defensively, playing 59 games last season in left field, 48 in right field and 14 in center field.

The Phillies have liked Hairston in the past, which is noteworthy. In fact, they nearly acquired him in July 2009. They would have sent pitchers Vance Worley and Heitor Correa to the Padres, but San Diego backed out at the last minute and sent Hairston to Oakland instead.

Wells, 34, would be an interesting acquisition, but only at the right price. His numbers the previous two seasons with the Angels have been far from impressive, hitting a combined .222 with 36 home runs, 95 RBIs, a .258 on-base percentage and a .667 OPS in 791 plate appearances. But if the Phils can acquire Wells for relatively little in a trade and have the Angels eat a vast majority of the remaining $42 million on his contract over the next two seasons, it could be a low-risk, high-reward move.

At least it would give manager Charlie Manuel another option.

If the Phillies fall short in their pursuit of another outfielder, they will enter Spring Training with Domonic Brown, John Mayberry Jr., Darin Ruf and Laynce Nix on the corners, with Ben Revere in center field. One could picture Brown opening the season as the team's everyday right fielder with Manuel working some sort of platoon in left.

"There's a bigger risk in doing that," Amaro said about entering the season without a veteran corner outfielder on the roster. "We could do it. But if we can, we'll try to improve on that."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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