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Phils Deal From Depth, Acquire First Baseman Charles

Art Charles- photo by Joe Wombough
With a surplus of righty relievers and one in particular that has been on the outs in recent months, the Phillies made a trade on Saturday, to acquire a power hitting minor league first baseman Art Charles from the Toronto Blue Jays.

In the deal, the Phils sent 27-year-old pitcher Michael Schwimer to Toronto.  Schwimer, a 14th round draft choice by the Phillies in 2008 out of the University of Virginia, has a 3-2 record with a 4.62 ERA in 47 big league contests while striking out 52 and walking 23 in 48 2/3 innings pitched.

Charles, a 6-foot-6 225-pounder, was a 20th round draft choice by Toronto out of Bakersfield College in 2010.  Last season, splitting time between the Class A Vancouver Canadians of the Northwest League and the Rookie level Bluefield Blue Jays of the Appalachian League, the California native batted .236 with 11 home runs and 34 RBI in 64 games.

The 22-year-old is likely to begin the 2013 season with Class A Lakewood and could be a serious offensive threat there, in the South Atlantic League. 

Schwimer has had a rocky relationship with the Phillies, dating back to last August, when the team demoted him to the minors, while Schwimer insisted he was injured and should have been placed on the disabled list at that time.  The variance in pay, which totals tens of thousands of dollars, which Schwimer missed out during that time, is likely something that the Phillies have not heard the last of even after sending the 6-foot-8 240-pounder away to nearby Dunedin, where the Blue Jays hold their spring training.

With a large collection of young right-handed relievers such as Phillippe Aumont, Justin De Fratus, Mike Stutes, B.J. Rosenberg, Tyler Cloyd, Jonathan Pettibone and Ethan Martin in camp, Schwimer became expendable for the Phillies.

The Blue Jays and Phils are scheduled to face off six times over the next five weeks, or so, in spring exhibition contests.

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