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ANGELS : Latest Strike Development Doesn't Faze Lachemann

March 15, 1995|MIKE DiGIOVANNA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

TEMPE, Ariz. — Angel Manager Marcel Lachemann wasn't sure how to put in perspective Tuesday's news that the National Labor Relations Board would file an unfair labor practice complaint against baseball owners.

"It could give the owners more incentive to settle (the strike)," Lachemann said after the Angels' 6-5 loss to the Seattle Mariners in Tempe Diablo Stadium.

"Or, it could give the players more incentive to hold out for the best deal. . . . I'm sick and tired of both of 'em, to tell you the truth."

Lachemann no longer gets excited when owners and players meet at the bargaining table or disappointed when negotiations break down. Like so many in baseball, he is simply numbed by the labor dispute.

The daily barrage of replacement baseball probably doesn't help. There have been some decent plays, and the effort has been outstanding, but it's hard to get excited about a team that seems so temporary and about games that seem to lack any kind of character.

There has been no lack of characters, though. Tuesday's winning pitcher, Seattle starter Osvaldo Fernandez, was a Cuban citizen who was granted political asylum in the United States after a nine-day journey by sailboat from the Netherland Antilles in 1993.

Craig Weissmann, who was credited with the save after striking out Ken Briggs and retiring Jose Peguero on a groundout in the ninth, was a full-time Mariner scout in Orange County last year.

Lenny Randle, the 46-year-old Angel infielder who spends most of his spare time schmoozing with fans and the media, capped a three-run rally in the eighth with an RBI single, then blew a kiss to third base coach Rick Burleson to acknowledge he received a sign.

And 33-year-old catcher Phil Oullette, who was working as a Home Depot department manager in Cerritos before signing with the Angels, had two of the team's 13 hits in his first start.

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Bill Wood, the Houston Astros' general manager from 1987 to 1993, was hired Tuesday by the Angels as a consultant to scout at the major and minor league levels and to assist in other matters.

Wood, who has had a private consulting business for the past year, will spend the next two weeks in Arizona before making several trips to the Angels' minor league affiliates. He'll also spend time studying other organizations.

"I'll look at teams like Toronto and Atlanta, who have spent a lot of money, and teams like the Expos, who have made the most out of limited resources," Wood, 53, said. "I'll look at international scouting and compare our efforts to other organizations. I hope the information I gather will enable the Angels to do their job better."

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McKay Christensen, who left for a two-year Mormon mission in Japan soon after signing a $700,000 bonus as the Angels' first-round pick in 1994, will return a few months ahead of schedule, according to Bob Fontaine, Angel player personnel director.

Fontaine said Christensen, an outfielder from Clovis West High School, should be back in the United States by May, 1996, enabling him to play the entire season for the Angels' rookie-league affiliate at Boise, Ida.

Notes

Former Mater Dei and Cal State Northridge standout Greg Shockey homered to right field in the fourth inning for the Angels. Designated hitter Joel Smith and center fielder Demond Smith had two hits each. . . . Angel outfielder Daniel Lewis, who has been sidelined since the first day of spring training because of a strained hamstring, is expected to return Friday. . . . Angel Manager Marcel Lachemann will use an All-Orange County pitching rotation against the Chicago Cubs today, Carlos Castillo (Loara High), Mike Schooler (Garden Grove High, Cal State Fullerton), Dion Beck (Cal State Fullerton) and John Thibert (Canyon High).

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