Struggling Phillies righthander Brett Myers today agreed to be optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

"I can't say enough about Brett's willingness to accept this assignment," Phillies general manager Pat Gillick said today. "He understood and is eager to get back on track again. He is struggling right now, but he is a quality major league pitcher who we are going to need in the second half of the season."

Under Major League Baseball service time rules, Myers, with five-plus years in the majors, had the right to accept or decline the assignment.

"The idea was something that Ruben [Amaro], Charlie [Manuel], Rich [Dubee] and I talked about the last couple of days. We just felt it was the best situation for Brett. This way he can continue being a starting pitcher. We discussed it with Brett and his agent and we all came to a meeting of the minds."

Myers, who is 3-9 with a 5.84 ERA for the Phillies, will start Wednesday night in Allentown's Coca-Cola Park against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. "How many starts he will make there is something we'll monitor," added Gillick.

A decision as to Myers' replacement will be determined on Wednesday.

Phils sign top pick. Shortstop Anthony Hewitt has agreed to terms and will report to Clearwater, Fla., later this week. Hewitt, 19, received a bonus of $1,380,000 plus eight semesters under a college scholarship program.