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Angel Notebook : Pettis, White Quick to Nix a Speed Showdown

March 07, 1986|MIKE PENNER | Times Staff Writer

MESA, Ariz. — Competition continues in right field and at second base, but what would be the most hotly contested of all races in the Angel training camp will not be seen this spring.

That would be a 60-yard dash between Gary Pettis and Devon White.

Pettis, starting his third season with the Angels, has already established what feats his feet can accomplish. His speed in the outfield earned him a Gold Glove for defensive excellence, and his quickness on the basepaths earned him 56 steals, the second-highest total in Angel history.

Pettis is a known quantity.

White, a 23-year-old rookie, remains a rumor. He is often described as a Pettis clone--a switch-hitting center fielder who was named the California League's best defensive outfielder in 1984 and who stole 58 bases in the minors last season. He has been clocked at 6.3 seconds in the 60.

"It'd be a great race," Manager Gene Mauch mused. "I have no idea who would win."

And that's the way Pettis and White, despite all their good-natured verbal jousting, want to keep it.

"There will be no race," Pettis announced with a grin on the day he reported to camp.

"No," White concurred. "Every spring training, something like that gets talked about. Everybody always wants to compare us, to see who is faster, but they'll never know. Neither one of us wants to push the issue."

White and Pettis are more interested in starting side by side in the Angel outfield.

Before that happens, though, White must produce more hits. In his first four minor league seasons, White batted .179, .215, .254 and .283. Last season, he hit .296 in 70 games with Midland and .253 in 66 games with Edmonton.

White's quest will start in earnest today, when the Angels open their exhibition schedule against the San Diego Padres at Yuma, Ariz. White is the Angels' sixth outfielder, behind Pettis, Brian Downing, George Hendrick, Ruppert Jones and Reggie Jackson.

Angel Notes Of the three pitchers scheduled to work today's game against the Padres, only starter John Candelaria is in top shape. Donnie Moore said he is still bothered by tightness in his right rib cage, and Gary Lucas has complained of stiffness in his lower back. Moore said: "It hasn't improved. If it's not any better (Friday), I won't throw." Lucas missed the first two months of last season because of back problems and is wary of a recurrence. "There's a minimal amount of discomfort, but it feels similar to the onset of what happened last year. It's in the same area," Lucas said. "It's a lingering type of thing. I don't know how to approach it except to pitch through." Lucas said he intends to pitch today. "Oh sure," he said. "I have my back pillow ready for the bus ride and everything." . . . If Moore is unable to pitch, Gene Mauch said he would replace him in the rotation with rookie Ray Chadwick.

Stewart Cliburn played catch on the sideline for 12 minutes Thursday, reported no pain and said he plans to resume throwing off the mound early next week. "It felt great," he said of his right shoulder. "I knew as soon as the swelling and inflammation went down that things would be back to normal." . . . Rob Wilfong drilled Don Sutton's first pitch in Thursday's intrasquad game back up the middle. The ball glanced off Sutton's glove and hit him hard in the stomach. Play was interrupted as trainer Rick Smith examined Sutton, but Sutton returned to the mound unhurt. Mauch: "That was scary."

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