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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : ANGELS : Snow's Status Hinges on Smith's Calf Injury

March 31, 1994|BOB NIGHTENGALE

The Angels officially decided that first baseman J.T. Snow will be sent down to triple-A Vancouver Saturday night unless outfielder Dwight Smith goes on the disabled list.

The Angels will continue to shop Snow in trade talks, but General Manager Bill Bavasi does not foresee a trade before opening day.

"Eduardo Perez is my first baseman," Angel Manager Buck Rodgers said. "Not that J.T. Snow is not a good first baseman, but that fact is becoming more evident that if I'm going to get 500 at-bats for Eddie Perez, it's at first base, not at third base or the outfield.

"We think he has a chance to be an impact player."

Snow, who was relieved a week ago when he was not traded to the New York Mets for Anthony Young, now wishes the trade would have been consummated just to remain in the big leagues.

"I don't see any reason why I should get sent down," said Snow, who did not start for the third consecutive game in the Angels' 4-3 defeat to the Milwaukee Brewers. "I think I can definitely help a team when I'm out there every day.

"I need to play in the big leagues. I don't need to go down there and hit .300 again. What's that going to prove?"

Snow could be spared the demotion if Smith's strained right calf does not heal by Saturday. He injured the calf in his last at-bat Tuesday against the San Diego Padres, and it worsened Wednesday. There's a 60% chance, Rodgers said, that Smith will be placed on the DL.

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Mark Langston was officially told that he will be the Angels' opening-day starter Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins. Langston becomes the first Angel pitcher to make three consecutive opening-day starts since Mike Witt in 1985-89.

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Chuck Finley pitched two scoreless innings Wednesday and experienced no ill effects from his stiff neck, which forced him to be scratched from his last start. Finley will start Saturday against the Dodgers in the Freeway Series, and become the No. 3 starter in the rotation . . . . Reliever Bill Sampen was forced to leave the game in the sixth inning with a tight muscle near his right biceps. Sampen, who yielded three hits before being removed in the sixth inning, said it's a chronic condition that is not serious . . . . The Angels' scheduled pitchers for the Freeway Series: John Dopson on Friday; Finley and Phil Leftwich on Saturday; Mark Leiter on Sunday.

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