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Angel Notebook : Jackson Letting His Bat Do the Talking for Now

March 17, 1986|ROSS NEWHAN | Times Staff Writer

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Valley of the Sun saw intermittent wind and rain Sunday.

The inclement weather even chilled the war of words between Reggie Jackson and Angel owners Gene and Jackie Autry.

Asked if he had any response to the Autrys' contention that he was mistaken when he claimed they had asked him to retire in November, Jackson chuckled, shook his head and said, "No comment."

This was one more day when Jackson's bat spoke louder than he did. His three-run double helped propel the Angels to an 11-6 victory over Seattle.

Shortstop Dick Schofield, knowing Manager Gene Mauch will not accept a .219 average again, drove in two runs with a triple and single.

Rookie outfield candidate Devon White hit a solo homer.

Jackson's bases-loaded double came in response to the crowd's chants of "Reg-gie, Reg-gie."

Coupled with a pair of home runs he had hit in earlier exhibition games, it was another indication that he is adjusting to the designated hitter role.

Whatever the real cause of his perception that the Angels do not want him--be it their refusal to extend his contract through 1987 or his insistance that General Manager Mike Port and the Autrys have told him as much--the designated-hitter assignment is no longer a problem, though he is questioned about it almost daily.

"I'm ready for it. I'm prepared for it," Jackson said Sunday. "I don't look on it as the put-down I did a few years ago. Even friends and people I respect in baseball feel I should be the designated hitter.

"People are pulling for me, and I know Gene (Mauch) is one of them. He feels I can do the job."

Mauch intends to give Jackson at least 100 spring at-bats to hasten his adjustment to a role he previously loathed, believing he was a better hitter when he was on the field every half inning, interacting with the crowd, umpires and opposing players.

"I'm at a point in my career where it's time to live with it," Jackson said. "I've accepted it mentally. I may have to pay more attention to the physical demands, but success depends on how you accept something mentally.

"I've made that adjustment. Everything else should fall into shape."

Jackson has, decreasing his waist size since the end of last season from a 35 to a 33. He alternates 1,200 sit-ups and 25 outfield sprints on an every other day basis while also working with weights.

What does he think about turning 40 in May?

"I just want to meet Jacqueline Bisset. She's 40, too," he said. Then he added: "I'm proud to be 40. I'm proud to look like I do at 40 and proud to be able to produce like I do."

Angel Notes Ron Romanick pitched three shutout innings as the starter, then yielded four runs in the fourth, three on a home run by catcher Bob Kearney. Romanick, who won only one of his last nine starts and had foot surgery in November, has now made three starts, yielding 10 runs and 14 hits in 9 innings. . . . Kirk McCaskill followed and allowed one unearned run on four hits in four innings.

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