PALM SPRINGS — Enough of this numbness, John Candelaria says. After testing his right leg twice Friday--once by throwing on it in the outfield, once by undergoing a doctor's examination--Candelaria said he wants back in the Angel pitching rotation.
"Maybe I'll just tape the ankle up and pitch Sunday," said Candelaria, referring to his next scheduled start.
Whoa, there, say the Angels. Not so fast.
"Hell, he could go out there and break his dang leg," Manager Gene Mauch said. "If John says he's ready to pitch, well, I'll wait until the doctor says he's ready to pitch. I'll go with what the doctor says. Candy, he likes the ball in his hand."
And what does the doctor say? Angel team physician Dr. Lewis Yocum examined Candelaria's right calf and reported improvement but also advised caution.
"He's doing better," Yocum said. "There's still some numbness, but his motor strength in the leg is returning. Now, it's just waiting until the numbness disappears.
Gary Pettis, subject of trade rumors one day, was the subject of teammates' ribbing the next. After reading reports of the Dodgers' interest in the Angel center fielder, Darrell Miller couldn't resist asking Pettis, "How much are you selling your house for?"
Pettis, however, was not in a laughing mood.
"I just work here," he said when questioned about the rumor. "There's nothing for me to discuss. If you're looking for comments or quotes, I suggest you talk to whoever started (the rumor)."
Pettis was asked what he thought when he saw his name mentioned as possible trade bait.
"Nothing at all," he replied. "I don't think."
He was, however, upset enough to seek out Port for a talk during batting practice.
"He was at a loss," Port said of their conversation. "He said, 'I didn't know I was (on the market). And I said, 'That makes it an even number because that's two of us.' We have not shopped around any of our players.
"I told Gary that if his name was being mentioned in the media, it was in a complimentary vein. Rare is the player whose name has never come up in discussions with various teams."
Port did confirm that he talked with Dodger General Manager Al Campanis Thursday.
"I told Al, 'Well, we got everybody excited because we have established contact,' " Port said, grinning. "We just reiterated what we had decided earlier--that, over the next week-and-a-half, if we had anything to talk about, we would talk during the Freeway Series."
Shrugging it off as just one more spring rumor, Port alluded to another that had been making the rounds.
"At least we edged Glenn Hubbard out of print for the time being," he said.
Angel Notes Toe Much: OK, Mike Witt did pitch the first seven innings of the Angels' 15-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners Friday and he did allow 2 runs on 7 hits and struck out 5. But what about his big right toe? Before the game, Manager Gene Mauch said Witt had sprained the toe during his last start and wasn't sure if Witt would be able to pitch against the Mariners. Mauch said he was "very concerned. He pushes hard off that rubber. If he shows the least bit of need to protect that toe, he's not going to pitch." Witt did pitch, but afterward, he claimed not to know a thing about the toe. "Maybe (Mauch) saw something I didn't," Witt said, straight-faced. He hadn't sprained the toe? "No," Witt said. The toe didn't hurt? "I don't think so," Witt said. Hmmmm. Perhaps someone is pulling someone's leg--or toe--on this one. . . . Relief pitcher Stewart Cliburn was held out of action a fourth straight day because of tenderness in his right elbow. "It's something we need to keep an eye on," General Manager Mike Port said. Mauch said he hopes to pitch Cliburn at least once before the Angels break camp next Wednesday. . . . Wally Joyner showed signs of snapping out of his spring-long spring, driving in four runs with a pair of hits. Devon White added three more hits and two more RBIs. That gives him a spring average of .390. "You throw Devon White enough strikes and he'll get enough hits," Mauch said. . . . Darrell Miller, Butch Wynegar and Doug DeCinces contributed two hits apiece.