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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : ANGELS : Blue Jays Cleared in Gruber Trade

July 09, 1993|BOB NIGHTENGALE

The Toronto Blue Jays, as anticipated, were cleared of all wrongdoing in their December trade of injured third baseman Kelly Gruber to the Angels, according to American League President Bobby Brown.

Although the investigation determined that Gruber was injured at the time of the Dec. 8, 1992 trade, the Angels still will be responsible for $2.3 million of Gruber's $4-million salary this season.

"Since neither club made the finalization of the trade contingent upon the involved players passing a physical examination," Brown said, "and since neither club had any information about Gruber's left shoulder status, both clubs have to assume responsibility for the condition of the players received."

If it's any consolation, the Angels might not be responsible for any further medical expenses, Angel Vice President Dan O'Brien said, if Gruber requires further surgery. Gruber underwent rotator-cuff surgery Feb. 17.

Said Angel Manager Buck Rodgers: "I don't know what to think. I thought it would be very low percentage that they'd do anything, but the fact is that we got damaged goods. . . . But I'm not the one who should be upset. It's not my money."

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Angel pitcher Julio Valera will be out a minimum of one year and probably won't pitch again until 1995, according to Lewis Yocum, who performed total reconstructive surgery Thursday on Valera's right elbow.

The surgery, which former Dodger Tommy John made famous, could also be career threatening, Yocum said.

"It's a very real possibility," Yocum said, "but on the other hand, there was a real good chance he'd never pitch effectively if he hadn't done something.

"Any pitcher who has a reconstruction has a tough road ahead of him. Julio throws hard, and it will be difficult to monitor his progress."

Angel teammate John Farrell, who underwent the same surgery, missed two complete seasons and is in triple-A Vancouver.

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Perhaps the most elated player in the Angel clubhouse over Mark Langston's selection to the All-Star game was fellow starter Chuck Finley (10-6, 2.93 ERA). Finley wanted to spend his All-Star break in Las Vegas with his family.

"He didn't seem real broken-hearted about it," Rodgers said.

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