Angels General Manager Tony Reagins came away from a 10-minute phone conversation with Gary Matthews Jr. on Thursday confident that the veteran would accept a demotion from center field to the corner outfield spots to clear room for Torii Hunter.
"He's a professional," Reagins said of Matthews. "He's thinking about his new role, and like a lot of people who are caught by surprise, he's still digesting it. But the bottom line is he wants to win. He reacted the way I thought he would react. It went well."
Matthews is one of baseball's best center fielders, known for his ability to make highlight-reel plays, but he is a shade below Hunter, a seven-time Gold Glove Award winner who agreed to terms on a five-year, $90-million contract with the Angels on Wednesday night.
Manager Mike Scioscia said Hunter, who is expected to travel to Anaheim for a physical and a news conference next week, will be the regular center fielder, to be spelled occasionally by Matthews, who is entering the second year of a five-year, $50-million contract.