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BASEBALL DAILY REPORT : Davis Won't Follow Phillips' Lead--Yet

February 28, 1996|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

The sudden retirement Tuesday of his friend and former teammate, Tony Phillips, didn't give Angel designated hitter Chili Davis any ideas about following suit.

But Davis did say that after his current contract expires at the end of the 1997 season, "I'm going to walk away from the game." Davis, 36, had entertained thoughts of playing for the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998 but said his priorities have changed.

"I'm going to play as hard as I can for two more years, but after that, I have people, family, that I want to spend more time with," said Davis, in the second year of a three-year, $11.4-million deal. "I'm not going to slack off because of that. If anything, it will make me play harder because I want these to be the best two years of my career."

Davis, who lives near Phillips in Scottsdale, Ariz., spoke with Phillips Tuesday morning and said the former Angel third baseman "wasn't pleased with the way the game treated him."

Though Phillips signed a two-year $3.6-million contract with the Chicago White Sox this winter, Davis said Phillips was disappointed that so few teams showed interest in him.

"The one point he stressed was that he wasn't retiring for a lack of love for the game," Davis said. "He still enjoys the game and worked his butt off this winter, but his family was more important. He said he would rather spend time with his family than play the game and be bitter about it."

*

Four reporters were at his locker, and infielder Rex Hudler just couldn't wait to talk about his day, which included a bases-empty home run, a grand slam--against relief ace Troy Percival, no less--an RBI double and a stolen base in the Angels' intrasquad scrimmage Tuesday.

"Man, I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight," the utility player said. "I had a blast. Call me Mr. February if you want, but I have a team to make and can't waste a day. I don't care if there's two people in the stands or 20,000 . . . "

"Hud," shortstop Gary DiSarcina interrupted, "they haven't even asked a question yet."

Does anyone have more fun playing this game than Hudler? After stretching a bloop hit into a double and sliding into second ahead of the throw, Hudler popped up on the bag and pointed at the second-base umpire. After catching a liner to end the scrimmage, he took the ball out of his glove, kissed it and sprinted toward the clubhouse.

"I've made more teams in B games and intrasquads, so this is my element," Hudler said. "I can't help it, I'm just excited. I can't believe we didn't play nine innings. I got cheated out of two at-bats. Seven-inning intrasquads, what's up with that?"

Moaned DiSarcina: "Man, we'll be hearing about this until October."

*

Manager Marcel Lachemann was asked if Hudler, who has a $300,000 guaranteed contract, was in any danger of not making the team. "He's probably a safer bet than I am," Lachemann said. . . . Center fielder Jim Edmonds, who had been nursing an injured hamstring, returned to his Diamond Bar home for personal reasons late Monday night but was expected to return Tuesday night. . . . The Angels have sold 10,424 season tickets and plan to launch a season-ticket sales "blitz" today. Full-season plans, priced as low as $410 a seat, half-season plans, starting at $205, and quarter-season plans, starting at $105, are available. The Angels' season-opening game against Milwaukee April 2 is included with each package.

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