SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — His line drive to left field had snapped a seventh-inning tie, his hard slide into second base had stretched the hit into a double and now he was headed to the dugout, trading places with a pinch-runner.
Bob Boone had done his job. It was time to take a seat.
If only he could.
Boone slides like a catcher--with more flop than finesse--and his backside took a beating on this one. Boone came up limping with what trainer Ned Bergert diagnosed as a "severe contusion of the right buttock."
Reporters later found Boone stretched out on a trainer's table, face-down and pants down, with a huge ice compress where his wallet should be. "Get the cameramen in here," Boone said, half-grinning and half-wincing.
Pitcher Ken Forsch spotted Boone and his voice lowered. "Oh no, what happened?" he asked, not sure if he really wanted an answer.
Boone is the guy who caught 150 of the Angels' 162 games in 1985. He's also 38 years old. Whenever he checks into the trainer's room, the Angels can see their season passing before their eyes.
But Boone shrugged off the injury.
"This is the middle of spring training," he said, "so it might be a week. If this was the middle of the season, it might be 20 minutes. I would never miss a game because of it."
Manager Gene Mauch said he expects Boone back in the lineup by this weekend.
"He was gonna go home tomorrow anyway," said Mauch, whose team breaks camp and heads for Palm Springs Thursday night. "He just shocked his tailbone a little. I may give him two days off."
Going home early doesn't enthrall Boone, because he has to leave Arizona the same way he came. That means six hours behind the steering-wheel of a four-wheel drive Bronco.
"I'm going to send it out first," Boone said, "and get the shocks redone."
Ken Forsch pitched four innings in the Angels' 8-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants, yielding five hits and one run--that courtesy a home run by Chris Brown.
Afterward, Forsch was marveling about the condition of his re-constructed right arm but cursing the pitch to Brown.
"Boonie called for a curveball in the dirt," Forsch said. "I've never been able to throw that pitch right. I got it up. I ruined my whole day."
Still, he said, the arm feels good and a one-year contract with the Angels, with part of the money guaranteed, is about to be signed. Forsch will finally officially return to the Angels' 40-man roster.
But Forsch isn't sure how long he'll stay.
"The only spot open on this staff is the 10th man," Forsch said, "and there are five guys going for it. I knew when I came here it was probably a mistake. I'm just trying to show somebody I can pitch. Hopefully, I can catch on somewhere."
Maybe the Giants. Forsch turned down an invitation to San Francisco's spring camp to return to the Angels, and the Giants, who are short on pitching, are said to still be interested.
The Angels announced their first wave of roster cuts Tuesday. Remaining in Mesa Thursday to be designated for minor league assignment are pitchers Mike Cook, Sherman Corbett, Todd Eggertsen, Todd Fischer, Tony Fossas, Alan Fowlkes, Bill Fraser and Len Whitehouse; catcher David Heath; and outfielder Raul Tovar. The Angels have limited facilities at their Palm Springs complex, so to cut the crowd, the team is also leaving pitcher Ray Chadwick, infielders Pat Keedy, Mark McLemore and Bill Merrifield, and outfielder Reggie Montgomery behind to work out in Mesa. The Angels have the option to recall them before the start of the regular season.