SARASOTA, Fla. – Even after being released by the Phillies this morning, pitcher Adam Eaton was able to maintain his typical good nature.

"I have to wait a couple of days to see if a team will pick up my contract," Eaton said on his cell phone. "So I'll be spinning my wheels for a couple of days in Clearwater. That will give me time to have lunch and dinner with some of the guys and let them know how much I appreciated being their teammate."

Eaton laughed.

"Plus I have some fan mail to finish going through," he said.

What kind of fan mail does a guy get when he went 14-18 with a 6.10 ERA in two years?

"Actually, it's all real positive," Eaton said. "People say some nice things, especially the hand-written notes. They mean a lot. It shows there's a lot of good people out there who appreciate good effort and understand results aren't always going to be rosy."

Eaton was not a candidate to win the open fifth starter's job, so the Phillies released him early in camp, to give him time to hook on with another team. The release came after efforts to trade the righthander were unsuccessful.

It is likely that Eaton will clear waivers and be signed by another club for $400,000, while the Phils pay the remainder of his $9 million salary for 2009.

"If there's a silver lining, it's that it's early in spring training," Eaton said. "I was a little surprised by the timing because I hadn't pitched, but if I'm not going to be able to compete for a spot in the rotation, why not do it now? I prepared myself in the off-season to compete. Everyone looks forward to their first outing of the spring. I'll just have to wait a little longer to get mine somewhere else."

Eaton, 31, was originally selected by the Phils in the first round of the 1996 draft. He was traded to San Diego before the 2000 season and returned as a free agent, signing a three-year, $24.5 million deal before the 2007 season.

Eaton was asked to sum up his time with the Phils.

"Disappointing," he said. "The expectations everyone had, including myself, weren't met. I'm the first to admit that. But we did get to the playoffs twice and won a World Series. I feel part of that – for the regular season, for sure.

"I'm looking forward to moving on. I just talked to (club president) Dave Montgomery and he said it was probably a good time for both parties to move on. He wasn't saying, 'We're glad you're out of here.' It was more like a change of scenery might do me good. I respect him for saying that.

"I've got a lot of respect for ownership. They saw value in me. A lot of people put their neck on the line for me. I still want to pitch to prove they were right to give me that contract. It just won't be with the Phillies.

"Maybe I'll go to an American League team and we can meet in the World Series."