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McNamara Has a Blood Clot in Calf

Angels: Interim manager will remain hospitalized in New York for four or five days. Maddon in charge.

August 22, 1996|MIKE DiGIOVANNA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NEW YORK — Team Tumult took another hit Wednesday despite defeating the New York Yankees, 7-1, as Angel Manager John McNamara was found to have a blood clot in his right calf, a condition that will hospitalize him in New York for the next four or five days and sent another tremor through a shellshocked organization.

Some year it has been for the Angels: They've changed owners and team presidents, their manager resigned in early August, they've gone through a major league-record 27 pitchers and used the disabled list a team-record 21 times.

They've been one of baseball's most underachieving teams, their clubhouse was split by an early season closer controversy, they griped about former Manager Marcel Lachemann, they admitted they lack leadership, and they've been ripped in the papers by new boss Tony Tavares.

And now this.

"We've already given him a blood clot in the leg?" shortstop Gary DiSarcina said when informed of the news. "It's only been two weeks . . . sorry, Mac."

DiSarcina didn't say it, but the message was obvious: Hang around the Angels long enough and something--usually bad--will happen.

"You become hardened to it all," DiSarcina said. "So many things have happened, to people's families, to themselves, to the organization, it's ridiculous to even ramble them off. What are the chances of a manager taking over and getting a blood clot? The odds of that are pretty slim."

McNamara, 64, was admitted Wednesday morning to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York, where a Doppler scan revealed the problem in his severely swollen calf.

"Just when you think you've seen it all," first baseman J.T. Snow said, "something else happens."

McNamara wasn't sure of the exact medical terminology for his condition--"It's a trombone or something," he said--but according to Dr. Alvin Benvenisty, a vascular surgeon, he has a deep vein thrombosis--a blood clot--in the calf.

Anti-coagulant medication, given orally and intravenously, is expected to dissolve the clot, but McNamara, who was in good spirits after Wednesday's victory, must remain in the hospital to undergo further tests and observation.

"I'm fine," McNamara said. "I don't like to be cooped up, though. This is the first time I've ever been in a hospital [overnight], it's the first time I've ever been in a wheelchair. . . . I've been having a lot of firsts lately."

Joe Maddon, the Angel bench coach who is now the interim interim manager, couldn't imagine McNamara sitting still so long.

"He can't chew [tobacco], he's in New York, he's in a hospital, he probably doesn't have cable TV," Maddon said. "He's probably going nuts in there."

McNamara began having problems with his calf after running in loafers during a treadmill test, part of a physical he underwent near his Nashville home before taking the Angel job Aug. 6.

Five days into his second term as Angel manager, McNamara's lower right leg was so swollen he couldn't make it to the bench for two games, which he managed via walkie-talkie from the Anaheim Stadium clubhouse.

McNamara improved during last weekend's series in Boston, but his foot swelled again Tuesday night, and he was unable to walk out of Yankee Stadium.

"I felt a lot better," McNamara cracked, "before I had my physical."

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