MESA, Ariz. — A day without Wally Joyner, Gene Mauch hopes, is not the prelude to an Angel summer without harmony.
As his team opened full-squad workouts Wednesday minus a full squad, Mauch cautioned against the possible long-term effects of a bitter contract negotiation between Joyner and the Angels.
"I don't want another Eric Dickerson scenario to develop," said Mauch, alluding to the other high-profile contract dispute that shook Anaheim last year.
"The first thing that happened was everybody got mad at the Rams. Then, everybody got mad at Eric Dickerson. Then, finally, everybody got hurt in the end.
"I just don't want that to happen here."
Joyner has said he will not report to camp until he reaches a new agreement with the Angels--the sides are believed to be about $70,000 apart--or March 3, whichever comes first. On March 3, Angel General Manager Mike Port says he will automatically renew the contract of any unsigned player.
Wednesday, Barry Axelrod, an agent for Joyner, said the prospects for a contract renewal are "50-50." He also described Joyner's absence from camp as "a principle thing. The way things have gone, I don't think Wally would feel right about himself if he reported now."
Meanwhile, Mauch must begin preparations for the 1988 season without the Angels' 1987 most valuable player.
"I would have preferred (Joyner) to be here," Mauch said. "I also understand what he is doing.
"He's negotiating as hard as he can. If he and his agent are doing it adroitly, I don't know. But they're going as hard as they can."
Wednesday, however, Port left camp and flew to Florida for two days of owners meetings, which figures to place all contract talks on hold until Friday. Before leaving, Port spoke again with Axelrod, who presented him with a final proposal for Port to mull over while he's away.