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ANGELS : Mack's Latest Outing Is an Improvement

March 05, 1995|MIKE DiGIOVANNA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

MESA, Ariz. — Tony Mack's arm felt sluggish, he couldn't get his curve over, and he didn't even bother throwing any sliders. But compared to his last start for the Angels, Saturday's two-inning stint against the Chicago Cubs would put him in line for the Cy Young Award.

Mack, a left-hander who threw two scoreless innings in the Angels' 5-4 loss to the Cubs, was called up from triple-A Edmonton for an emergency start against the Toronto Blue Jays in 1985.

Ten years seemed to blur Mack's memory of the event. "I threw strikes, I wasn't really hit hard, I just didn't get any breaks," said Mack, 33.

Mack's line: 2 1/3 innings pitched, eight hits, four runs (all earned), no walks, no strikeouts. Mack took the loss, beginning and ending his major league career with an 0-1 record and 15.43 ERA.

"The Angels had a couple of injuries and it was a stop-gap situation," Mack said.

Thanks to the strike, Mack is getting a second chance. He retired from baseball after the 1989 season and spent a few years as a vacuum-cleaner salesman and a physical therapist's assistant.

Mack made a comeback last season, going 14-3 with a 4.16 ERA for Corpus Christi of the Independent Texas-Louisiana League. If the strike ends, Mack probably will return to Corpus Christi as a player-coach.

"We all know the situation here," Mack said. "If they settle the strike, I'll say, 'Thank you, I appreciate the opportunity,' and that's that."

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HoHo no-shows: The announced crowd at HoHoKam Park Saturday was 4,061, but the figure included season tickets sold. Actual attendance was less than half of that and far below the 1994 HoHoKam season-opening crowd of 8,580.

But at least Cub fans went home happy. Trailing, 4-3, in the bottom of the ninth, the Cubs, known here as the Sub-Cubs, took advantage of four Chris Gunnett walks to score two runs for the victory.

The game also featured the Angel debut of pitcher Bryan Smith, a former Dodger minor leaguer who is on a leave of absence from his job as a Los Angeles-based FBI agent.

Smith, 32, working on eight years rest--he hadn't pitched professionally since 1987--walked the bases loaded with two out in the fifth but managed to wiggle out of the jam by inducing Kenny Coleman to ground out.

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Notes

A local radio station carrying KMPC's broadcast of the game received several complaints from Native Americans who said Angel announcers Bob Starr and Mario Impemba were pronouncing "HoHoKam" incorrectly. . . . Charlie Hudson, whose seven-year major league career ended after the 1989 season, pitched three scoreless innings for the Cubs Saturday. Hudson, who turns 36 on March 16, played with the Phillies (1983-86), New York Yankees (1987-88) and Detroit Tigers (1989). He beat the Dodgers, 7-2, in Game 3 of the 1983 NL Championship Series.

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