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This Righty Acts Like a Lefty

February 18, 1996|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

The Angels aren't quite sure what they have in pitcher Jason Grimsley, acquired from Cleveland in the Brian Anderson deal Thursday, and neither is Grimsley.

"I may throw a pitch on the outside corner, I may throw one by your ear, you can never tell," said Grimsley, 28, a right-hander who will compete for the fifth starting spot. "It's nothing personal. It just kind of happens."

Grimsley is quirky, from his erratic pitches to his unpredictable behavior.

He has 201 strikeouts and 189 walks in parts of six big league seasons. In 1993, while with Philadelphia, he set a major league record with wild pitches in 11 consecutive games. The previous mark was nine.

"But I had to be in 11 games in the big leagues to do it, so that's a plus," said Grimsley, who has shuffled between triple A and the majors. "I've rattled a few backstops."

He also is believed to have rattled at least one ceiling vent. Remember the Albert Belle bat-corking incident of 1994? Grimsley reportedly climbed through a duct in a ceiling above the locked umpire's room at Comiskey Park to replace Belle's confiscated bat with one of Paul Sorrento.

The Indians eventually were caught and had to relinquish Belle's bat, which was found illegal.

"I might have done it, I might not have," he said, grinning. "I'll take the Fifth [Amendment] on that."

As if that wasn't enough to pique the interest of his new teammates, there is this Grimsley oddity: He lost the big toe on his left foot in a motorcycle accident when he was 12.

"I saw his foot come out of that sock and said, 'Wow, that's not normal-looking,' " said Angel reliever Mike James, a clubhouse neighbor.

Grimsley, who was issued Anderson's old number (56), said he has never had problems with his landing foot. "My other toes have sort of moved over to compensate for the loss of the big one," he said.


Free-agent catcher Joe Oliver, whom the Angels coveted this winter, remains unsigned, but General Manager Bill Bavasi said, "We can't afford him right now."

Oliver, who hit .273 for Milwaukee in 1995, is seeking a contract in the $900,000 range. He's negotiating with Cincinnati but wouldn't say whether he's close to signing with his former team. "I thought I was close to signing with the Angels a month ago, so you never know," Oliver said.

The longer Oliver goes without a job, the lower his asking price likely will be. "If it gets to about $500,000 we'd look at it," Bavasi said. "But it's still doubtful."


Rookie catcher Todd Greene showed some power--and accuracy--during batting practice Saturday, smashing two home runs over the left-field fence on a Tempe Diablo Stadium practice field. He also hit the same car twice. "He hit it once on the fly and once on a bounce," Manager Marcel Lachemann said. The damage: One cracked windshield and one shattered window. "That car has a ball-sheen finish," bullpen catcher Mick Billmeyer said. . . . Short hair seems to be the rage in Angel camp this season. James and pitcher Chuck Finley trimmed their long locks, shortstop Gary DiSarcina reported with a close-cropped flat-top, and Bavasi and Lachemann each are wearing crew cuts. "It looks like crap but it's low maintenance," Lachemann said.

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