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Angels End Dominican Connection

November 04, 1995|MIKE DiGIOVANNA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Angels have trimmed about $600,000 from their player development budget, forcing the elimination of their Dominican Summer League team and layoffs of two former Angels, Gary Pettis, a full-time roving baserunning instructor, and Bobby Grich, a part-time roving batting instructor.

Most of the staff of about 15 coaches and full- and part-time employees who ran the Angels' Academy in the Dominican have been let go, except for Manager Charley Romero, who has been transferred to the team's Class-A affiliate at Cedar Rapids, Iowa. To make room for Romero, the Angels let go Cedar Rapids coach Kevin Davis.

"We'll still have scouts in the Dominican, but unless you have money to sign players, it doesn't make sense [to have the academy there]," said Ken Forsch, the Angels' director of player development.

The Angels had 32 players on their Dominican team this summer and are either reassigning or releasing them. The elimination of what was expected to be a year-round program there could hinder the Angels' chances of mining the fertile Latin American region for talent.

Twenty-three major league organizations have teams or are part of co-op teams in the Dominican Summer League, and two organizations, the Dodgers and the Toronto Blue Jays, each field two teams in the league.

Facing annual limits on the number of visas allotted to bring foreign players to the United States--usually between 20 and 30--major league organizations use their Dominican affiliates to sign players between the ages of 17 and 20 and develop them for two or three years before bringing them to the country.

The Angels, who have never had much success signing top-caliber Latin American players, will no longer have that luxury.

"It hampers your ability to sign players from other countries," Forsch said. "It will be more of a gamble to bring in a 17- or 18-year-old player from the Dominican."

Also, Gary Ruby, the pitching coach at triple-A Vancouver who has been with the Angels for seven years, has resigned to accept a similar position with the Cleveland Indians' triple-A team at Buffalo.

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