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Angels: Matthews leaves camp after meeting with Scioscia, Reagins

March 29, 2009 | 10:19 am

Matthews

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Disgruntled outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. was given permission to leave camp for a day today after being told in a closed-door meeting with Manager Mike Scioscia and General Manager Tony Reagins that he would open the season as the Angels' fifth outfielder.

Matthews, who was scheduled to travel to Surprise, Ariz., for an exhibition game against the Texas Rangers, would not discuss the meeting. As he changed out of his uniform and into his clothes, he told reporters, "Give me a day, OK guys? Thanks."

Asked if he was being traded, Matthews said, "No."

Matthews, in the third year of a five-year, $50-million contract, has had a good spring, but he is currently behind Vladimir Guerrero, Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu and Juan Rivera on the outfield-designated-hitter depth chart.

Matthews is believed to be willing to waive his no-trade clause for a deal to a team that can offer a starting job, but with $33 million left on his contract and Matthews coming off knee surgery, he will be very difficult to deal.

"Gary has made it clear to us that he wants to play every day, but right now, that's not where we're at," Scioscia said. "That's not to say it won't happen at some point of the season."

Reagins, when asked if Matthews was in the Angels' opening-day plans, said, "Yes."

But when asked if Matthews would be an Angel a week from now, the GM said, "This game can change on a daily basis."

We'll have more information on Matthews later this morning at http://www.latimes.com/sports/.

-- Mike DiGiovanna

Photo: Gary Matthews Jr. breaks his bat on a ground out against the Oakland Athletics on April 30, 2008. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

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