San Diego Padres Acquire Jim Edmonds

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Jim Edmonds is returning to Southern California, this time as a member of the San Diego Padres.

The Padres obtained the 37-year-old center fielder and cash from the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday for a minor leaguer. The deal needed approval of the commissioner's office because the Cardinals are sending approximately $1 million to the Padres to help offset Edmonds' 2008 salary.

The deal came about quickly after the agent for free agent center fielder Mike Cameron broke off talks with the Padres on Friday.

The Cardinals will get minor league third baseman David Freese.

Edmonds grew up in Diamond Bar in Los Angeles County and was drafted by the Angels in 1988. He played for the Angels from late in the 1993 season until being traded to St. Louis just before the 2000 season.

Edmonds was slowed by injuries last season but the eight-time Gold Glove winner recently pronounced himself fit.

The acquisition of Edmonds came after the Padres were spurned by three outfielders in less than a week.

Cameron's agent broke off negotiations for a deal to bring back the center fielder on Friday. Cameron is suspended for the first 25 games of 2008 after testing positive a second time for a banned stimulant.

Last weekend, left fielder Milton Bradley accepted a one-year deal from the Texas Rangers worth approximately $5 million. The Padres had offered $4 million to bring back Bradley.

Plus, the Padres lost out in the bidding for Japanese outfielder Kosuke Fukudome, who signed with the Chicago Cubs.

Padres right fielder Brian Giles is coming off microfracture surgery on his right knee. The Padres have expressed interest in signing free agent Geoff Jenkins.

Edmonds and the Cardinals beat the Padres in the opening round of the playoffs in both 2005 and 2006.

After the Cardinals won the 2006 World Series, the four-time All-Star had operations on his right shoulder and left toe. He batted just .222 in April.

"I wasn't even close to healthy," he said last month.

Edmonds wound up batting .252 with 12 homers and 53 RBIs -- his lowest totals since 1999 with the Angels. But heading into the final season of a $19 million, two-year contract, he expects much better production from himself next season.

"Everything is gone now and I'm feeling really good," he said. "I'm feeling the best I've felt in five or six years. I'm already working out and already running and doing some things that I need to do."

Edmonds appeared in the postseason with the Cardinals in six of the last eight seasons, including two World Series.

The Padres fell one victory short of making it to the playoffs for the third straight season. San Diego hasn't won a postseason series since 1998.

the 24-year-old Freese batted .302 with 17 homers and 96 RBIs with Single-A Lake Elsinore.

AP Sports Writer R.B. Fallstrom in St. Louis contributed to this report.

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