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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : ANGELS

Davis' Absence Is No Longer Joking Matter

February 25, 1996|ELLIOTT TEAFORD

The jokes and smiles are beginning to cease as designated hitter Chili Davis fails to report to the Angels' training camp at Tempe, Ariz.

Davis has been attending to personal matters, but Manager Marcel Lachemann expressed disappointment with the man Tim Salmon last year said "is the California Angels."

Davis, who will earn $3.8 million this year, is counted on to be a role model for the young Angels, and perhaps that's what troubles Lachemann most.

"I know he's trying to get his desk cleared before he concentrates on baseball, but he's an important part of the club," Lachemann said.

What's more, Davis lives in nearby Scottsdale, so it's not as if he's flying in from distant lands. Lachemann said he tried calling Davis over the winter but never reached him.

"I'm not going to worry about it," Lachemann said. "[But] I need him here. I want him here."

Lachemann believes Davis, who batted a career-best .318 with 20 home runs and 86 runs batted in despite spending time on the disabled list with a pulled hamstring in 1995, will arrive in shape.

"Chili's not dumb," Lachemann said. "He knows what it takes to get ready for the season. . . . The key is what kind of shape he's in when he gets here."

*

Shawn Boskie, David Holdridge, Ben VanRyn, Willie Fraser, Mark Williamson and Todd Frohwirth are scheduled to pitch against Cal State Fullerton on Thursday at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

"The first three guys will probably each go two innings and the others one inning each," pitching coach Chuck Hernandez said.

*

It appears as if the Angels won't sign free-agent catcher Joe Oliver. They believe he will soon sign with the Cincinnati Reds. Oliver's asking price--at one time about $1 million--was too much for the Angels.

"We'll keeping looking," General Manager Bill Bavasi said. "There are quite a few clubs in the same shape we're in [looking for a front-line catcher]."

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