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Angels Lose to Mariners, Might Lose Polonia

September 14, 1993|BOB NIGHTENGALE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Angel leadoff hitter Luis Polonia, exasperated and perplexed by the Angels' silence, vowed Monday that he will file for free agency if he is not signed to a multiyear contract by season's end.

"I keep waiting, waiting and waiting, and nothing," Polonia said before the Angels' 10-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Anaheim Stadium. "It's hard to figure out what they want to do. I really don't know what they're doing.

"Some days, they say that they want me. Some days, they don't say anything. Well, I want to know before I go home, because once I leave, I've decided I might as well file for free agency and let everyone have their chance to sign me."

Although Manager Buck Rodgers is anticipating Polonia's return, continuing to play him in left field instead of rookie Jim Edmonds, Polonia said it has been a month since he last had contract negotiations with anyone from the Angel front office.

Polonia is willing to sign a three-year contract for $9 million, and sources say the Angels countered with a four-year deal worth $9 million. Yet, there have been no discussions of a possible compromise.

The Angels (63-80), who have lost four consecutive games and six of seven, could desperately use an influx of veteran help if they want to be serious about contending next year. They also need to convince their fans, considering only 15,657 showed up Monday, the smallest baseball crowd at Anaheim since 1978.

Before the game, Rodgers cleared the clubhouse, making sure even those on the disabled list were congregated in the outfield, where he voiced his displeasure during an 11-minute speech.

"When you've got too many young players," Rodgers said, "they've got to be reminded, 'Hey, this is the big leagues.' I think some guys are unintentionally holding back some abilities. Right now, there's some fear of failure."

Certainly, Angel starter Mark Langston's performance did little to bolster his feelings about the situation. Langston (15-8) yielded nine hits and a season-high six earned runs in 4 2/3 innings. Langston gave up home runs to Bret Boone and Dave Valle in the fourth.

Ken Griffey Jr. also homered against reliever John Farrell and had three runs batted in.

The Mariners (74-69), who have won four consecutive games and 20 of their last 30, moved to within six games of the division-leading Chicago White Sox. It's the closest they have been to first place this late in the season.

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