Outfielder Rondell White has a place to play following his trade from the Yankees to the Padres for outfielder Bubba Trammell and minor league left-hander Mark Phillips yesterday.

More important, the Padres cleared approximately $5 million from the books for 2004, which will help them pursue free agents prior to moving into their new downtown ballpark next season.

The trade came less than two weeks after Padres left fielder Phil Nevin had surgery on his dislocated left shoulder, which likely will cause him to miss the season.

White will play left field and bat fifth, providing protection for Ryan Klesko. Trammell had been scheduled to play right field, but rookie Xavier Nady is now the front-runner there instead of in left.

White, 31, was a disappointment in his first season with the Yankees, getting hurt during spring training and failing to regain his swing until late in the season, when he was injured again. He batted .240 with 14 homers and 62 RBI.

New York had little room for him following the signing of Japanese star Hideki Matsui, who figures to play left field alongside center fielder Bernie Williams and right fielder Raul Mondesi.

"It's good and bad. I'm going to miss the guys," White said. "I had a chance to play with a group of Hall of Famers. I didn't want to leave New York. I wanted to come back and prove what I can do.

"It's a business. I'm getting a chance to play every day. I think I'm an everyday player."

White makes $5 million this year and is eligible for free agency after the season.

Trammell, a former Met, makes $2.5 million in 2003 and $4.75 million next year. He has a $4.75 million team option for 2005, with a $250,000 buyout. If the Yankees decline Trammell's option, the Padres will reimburse them for the buyout.

Trammell, 31, had a breakout year in 2001, hitting .261 with 25 homers and 92 RBI. He struggled last year though, while platooning much of the season with Ray Lankford in left, batting .243 with 17 homers and 56 RBIs.

"I'm excited. I'm going to a team that's a perennial winner," Trammell said.

* INDIANS: Rookie manager Eric Wedge made his first pitching change -- he switched pitching coaches just 12 days before the season opener, replacing Mike Brown with Carl Willis.

Willis had been the pitching coach at Class AAA Buffalo the past two seasons under Wedge, who has made it clear in his first spring training camp that the Indians are his team.

Wedge said he decided to make the move in the past couple of days and did it with General Manager Mark Shapiro's approval. Wedge felt it was necessary to make the change before the regular season.

"You have to be comfortable in your staff and believe in the fit," he said. "That fit was something that was important to me. We're not going to miss a beat."

Brown became Cleveland's pitching coach before last season after being the club's roving pitching instructor from 1995 to 2001. Brown, 44, has been offered an unspecified assignment in the organization.

* DODGERS: Kevin Brown looks like he's back in form. The Los Angeles ace, recovering from back surgery last June, pitched six shutout innings and struck out eight in a 1-0 loss to the Expos. Brown, who turned 38 on Friday, allowed three hits and walked none.

Kevin Brown, working his way back from back surgery in June, pitches six shutout innings for Dodgers, allowing three hits and striking out eight.