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ANGELS : Exhibition Games to Open on Serious Note


MESA, Ariz. — The time for fun and games is over. Now, it's time for just games as the Angels open a four-game exhibition series against the Padres today in Yuma, Ariz.

"I think everybody is well aware that time is of the essence and we need to derive as much from the competition as possible," Angel Manager Doug Rader said on Sunday after his team played an intrasquad game.

"We're not making evaluations based on intrasquad games and exercises. That's irresponsible. The way we compete over the next 14 games is important. More needs to be made of these games to get in the proper mind-set."

Mark Langston is scheduled to pitch the first three innings today, with Mike Witt set to pitch the next three. Bryan Harvey, Scott Bailes and Bob McClure will finish.

Shortstop Dick Schofield will rest today because of a minor hamstring pull that has not completely healed.

As a precaution, Johnny Ray didn't start the intrasquad game after he was hit in the head twice in Saturday's simulated game, but he played later and pronounced himself fit.

Outfielder Dan Grunhard, who played at double-A Midland last season, and infielder Kent Anderson each had three hits in Sunday's intrasquad game. "The Grunhard boy did a nice job," Rader said. "It was nice to see all the kids do well."

Grunhard is among six non-roster players who joined the team for the trip to Yuma. Also taken along were former Phillie third baseman Rick Schu, outfielders Reed Peters and Ruben Amaro, Jr., pitcher Mark Eichhorn and infielder Donnie Hill.

Eichhorn, who pitched for the Atlanta Braves last season and was signed as a free agent in December, gave up three runs in his first inning Sunday, but Rader was not discouraged.

"I'm very impressed with the guy," Rader said.

The Angels are trying to persuade the Padres to use a designated hitter for their series. The Angels might have more of an argument next week, when the teams meet again for four games at the Angels' park in Palm Springs.

Angel pitchers haven't taken batting practice, and they're not likely to get any.

"They'd take it (today) at the plate," Rader said. "It's going to be 'Go hit.' That's it."

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