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Angel Notebook : Kipper Stays With Team, for Time Being

April 09, 1985|ROSS NEWHAN | Times Staff Writer

Left-hander Bob Kipper completed the long and rare jump from Class A to the major leagues Monday when he survived the Angels' final roster cut and was given a seat in the bullpen.

Kipper, 20, allowed only one earned run in 12 exhibition innings if a seven-run, two-inning stint against San Diego is dismissed. He was 18-8 for Redwood in the California League last year.

The appointment could be a brief one since the Angels will have to make another cut if Ken Forsch comes off the disabled list April 16, as planned.

Jim Slaton, who is expected to make the two starts Forsch will miss, would then return to the bullpen.

The Angels got to the opening-day limit of 25 players by optioning pitcher Rafael Lugo to Edmonton and electing not to sign pitcher Craig Swan and outfielder Rufino Linares, both of whom had received spring trials as free agents.

The decision with Linares allowed the Angels to keep Darrell Miller, an outfielder-first baseman-catcher.

The roster:

Pitchers (10): Mike Witt, Geoff Zahn, Tommy John, Ron Romanick, Doug Corbett, Luis Sanchez, Pat Clements, Donnie Moore, Jim Slaton and Bob Kipper.

Catchers (3): Bob Boone, Jerry Narron and Darrell Miller.

Infielders (6): Rod Carew, Bobby Grich, Dick Schofield, Doug DeCinces, Rob Wilfong and Craig Gerber.

Outfielders (6): Brian Downing, Gary Pettis, Reggie Jackson, Juan Beniquez, Ruppert Jones and Mike Brown.

Kipper becomes the seventh rookie to join the Angels in the last two years, and the third this year. Reliever Clements and infielder Gerber are the two others.

"I understand that the Angels have to make another decision in a couple of weeks, but I'm just happy to be here right now," Kipper said. "It's a dream come true, a chance to get my feet wet.

"I can't tell you that I'm going to handle relief real well or that I'm going to fail. I'm going to approach it like I did spring training and hope for the best.

"I feel I can get big league hitters out. I proved it this spring with the exception of one outing."

Mauch said he wasn't sure how Kipper would be used but added, "If I was afraid to put him out there I wouldn't have kept him. I didn't keep him because he's a good-looking kid.

"I think we picked the 10 best pitchers and have a chance to catch lightning in a bottle with Kipper. There's a premium on left-handers, particularly gifted left-handers like he is.

"If Ken Forsch is better than somebody else when he's ready to pitch, then we'll have to make another decision. It may be that we'll go with 11 pitchers."

The lineup for tonight's opening game against Minnesota left-hander Frank Viola, who was 2-1 against the Angels and 18-12 overall last year, is characteristic of the maneuvering expected from Mauch this year.

Mauch will have Carew leading off and Pettis batting ninth. He will have Beniquez in left and Downing as the designated hitter.

The lineup: Carew, 1B; Beniquez, LF; Grich, 2B; DeCinces, 3B; Downing, DH; Jackson, RF; Schofield, SS; Boone, C, and Pettis, CF.

Of the decision to have Pettis hit ninth, Mauch said: "Gary will bat leadoff a lot for us, but the guy with the best on-base percentage against Viola has been Carew.

"Viola is also the toughest left-hander in the American League to steal against, except for Geoff Zahn."

Mauch said that the decision to use Downing as a DH was made partly because Downing is nursing strained shoulder tendons, an injury the Angels kept quiet about. That, of course, was after a spring training briefing in which General Manager Mike Port told the club's regular writers that injuries would be announced promptly and honestly.

"Brian told me that the arm is no different than it's been at any time in the last nine years," Mauch said. "We had it examined last week, and the doctors were surprised that there wasn't a rotator cuff tear."

Mauch said that Downing could and would play with the condition--as he has in the past--but that the right-handed-hitting Beniquez and Mike Brown and the left-handed hitting Ruppert Jones give him options in left.

Said Mauch: "Brian also told me that while some guys don't like being the DH, he doesn't mind it at all. He said his only care is that we field the best team possible."

Mauch reiterated Monday that he believes the Angels are the team to beat in the West. He does not have a numerical goal, however.

"In 1964, we set a goal of 92 wins," he said of that infamous year with the Phillies.

"We had 90 with 12 to play (and blew 10 to finish second with 92 wins).

"Since then I don't recall ever setting a goal."

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