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Phillies still in contention to land Burnett

Pirates main competition for right-hander, who would slot behind Lee, Hamels

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies indicated late last week they did not expect to sign anybody before Spring Training opens Thursday in Clearwater, Fla.

But sources said Monday night the Phils are very much still in the running for free-agent right-hander A.J. Burnett.

It is unclear if the parties are close to a deal, but the chances have improved since Friday when Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said, "It's more likely we'll go [into Spring Training] with what we've got."

If the Phils and Burnett agree to a deal -- the Pirates seem to be their top competition -- he would become the rotation's No. 3 behind Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. Kyle Kendrick also has a spot in the rotation. Roberto Hernandez signed a one-year, $4.5 million deal in December. Entering camp, Amaro indicated Miguel Gonzalez, Jonathan Pettibone and others would fight for the No. 5 spot.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for
Read More: Philadelphia Phillies, A.J. Burnett