Second baseman Damion Easley could smile Monday, content that the answers to his questions concerning his ailing shins have been finally unearthed. He has been to specialists in San Diego and Houston in recent days and today he'll meet with Dr. Lewis Yocum to discuss surgery.
Easley said he is leaning in that direction, hoping it will ease the pain that has troubled him since before spring training. The consensus diagnosis now is compartment syndrome, which can be relieved with a relatively simple procedure that could allow Easley to be jogging within two to three weeks.
He said he prefers surgery to a lengthy period of inactivity that could stretch to four months and still not solve the problem. "If I still hurt I'll still have to have surgery," said Easley, who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 1. "I haven't made up my mind entirely. It's a lot easier to take (being sidelined) now. I understand to the fullest what's going on. I know my options."
Easley, who batted .313 in 73 games this season, is resigned to missing the rest of the year but hopes surgery will enable him to be healthy by spring training.
The Angels will take a long look at Kurt Stillwell in the coming weeks to determine if he can be an adequate replacement should surgery fail to cure Easley's problem. If Easley is sound, Stillwell and Torey Lovullo will battle for the backup spot next year.
Manager Buck Rodgers celebrated his 55th birthday Monday and said he can't fathom the thought of managing into his 60s.
"If I was still having fun I might, but I can't imagine wanting to," he said. "I would seriously doubt I would be the big 'six-oh' and still enjoy it."
Is he enjoying this season?
"Yeah," he said. "If the only thing that turns you on and off are wins and losses, it's going to be a tough year. If you start counting the pluses and minuses, which I like to do, then you can accept a season when your record isn't what it might be."
First baseman J.T. Snow continues his turnaround at triple-A Vancouver, batting .425 with 14 runs batted in and only three strikeouts in his last 10 games. "He'll be back and he'll be the player we want him to be," Rodgers said. . . . Shortstop Gary DiSarcina played his 200th consecutive game on Sunday in Seattle, and Rodgers winced when asked when he might give him a rest. "When a player has played as hard and as good as Gary has I don't feel good about taking him out of the lineup," Rodgers said. "Ever since I put DiSarcina in the lineup in September of '91, he's never looked back once."
Third baseman Eduardo Perez was sent home because of strep throat and a temperature of 103. Rodgers raved about Perez's ability to bounce back after Nolan Ryan struck him out three times last week in Arlington, Tex. "Then he comes back and has two, two-out, RBI base hits against Kevin Brown," Rodgers said. "To me that's the mark of a guy who is going to be around for a while."