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Dark Clouds Follow Angels to Chicago

May 03, 1997|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

The Angels were rained out for the second consecutive night Friday when their game against the Chicago White Sox in Comiskey Park was postponed because of inclement weather.

The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader today, with the first game beginning at 12:30 p.m. PDT.

Angel pitcher Allen Watson will face Chicago's James Baldwin in the opener, and knuckleballer Dennis Springer, who was recalled from triple-A Vancouver on Friday, will face Doug Drabek in the second game.

Several Angels were frustrated when Thursday's game in Boston went 4 1/2 innings and was called after a 1-hour 55-minute rain delay with the Angels leading, 2-0. Had the Angels recorded three more outs, they would have been awarded a victory.

There was no second-guessing Friday's decision. Hard rain pelted the Chicago area all day, the storm continued into the early evening as temperatures dipped into the low 40s, and the game was called about 2 1/2 hours before it was scheduled to begin.

The rainout will push the return of Angel first baseman Darin Erstad back another day. Erstad, sidelined since April 23 because of a strained right hamstring, was in Friday's lineup, batting leadoff.

"I could always use another day; this is not going to hurt," said Erstad, who is batting .325 with seven stolen bases. "I feel pretty good, but you don't really know until you get in a game."


He made two pinch-hit appearances and one start in his brief stint, but third baseman George Arias, who was sent to Vancouver on Friday to make room for Springer, accomplished more in a week and a half with the Angels than he did in all of spring training.

"The George Arias I saw this week was not the George Arias I saw in Arizona," Manager Terry Collins said. "He showed me he wants to be here. It was obvious he was frustrated in spring training because we had signed [Dave] Hollins, and his approach was not as good as it could have been.

"But when he came [to Anaheim], the first thing he told me was he's going to show me he could play. He took extra ground balls and extra batting practice every day. . . . That was the George Arias people told me about."

Arias, who had two hits and an RBI Wednesday night in his only start, didn't seem disappointed with his demotion.

"I think I accomplished a lot with my attitude this time," he said. "My attitude stunk in spring training, but I went about it a different way here. I feel good because I think I left a different impression."


Shortstop Gary DiSarcina, who was scheduled for a day off Friday, has gone five for 42 in his last 13 games, his average dipping to .226, and Collins says the harder he tries, the more he has struggled.

"He's trying to do too much, I think," Collins said. "Everyone wants to contribute, and he's such a gamer, but I think he's over-swinging a little bit. When you're a good player and you go into a funk, you try so hard to get out of it sometimes it mires you deeper in the slump."


A pregame ceremony in which Hank Aaron was to present Chicago White Sox outfielder Albert Belle with the American League Aaron RBI Award was washed out, and Belle, who has not spoken with reporters since April 11, refused to join Aaron at a news conference to accept the award.

So Aaron, after speaking with reporters briefly in Comiskey Park, delivered the award to Belle in the White Sox clubhouse.

"Regardless of how I felt, I thought you guys had a job to do," Aaron said, when asked about Belle's stormy relationship with the media. "I ran into some bad people myself, but I didn't try to avoid them."

Aaron, who holds baseball's home record with 755, spoke on a variety of topics, including Jackie Robinson, the Atlanta Braves' new stadium, the lack of a baseball commissioner and the possibility of Roger Maris' single-season home run record of 61 being broken this season.

"Maris' record could be challenged easier than mine," Aaron said, "and Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey are two guys who could do it."







Comiskey Park, Chicago, 12:30 p.m. PDT.

* TV--Channel 9, 4 p.m. (Game 2 or joined in progress).

* Radio--KTZN (710), 12:30 p.m.

* Update--The White Sox, expected to challenge Cleveland for the AL Central title, have the league's worst record, but Chicago right fielder Tony Phillips, the team's leadoff batter, is not shocked. "Baseball is baseball; nothing is guaranteed," Phillips said. "You can look good on paper, but if you don't get it done on the field, it doesn't work out. You look at the talent we have here and you know we're capable of doing it. . . . But doing it is a different story. There's good pitching, good hitting and good defense, and you have to have two of those three to win. The only thing that's been consistent for us is our pitching. Our offense and defense have not been consistent." Angel Manager Terry Collins said it's just a matter of time before the White Sox snap out of their funk. "You just hope the heck you're out of town when they do," he said. "Yeah, I'm surprised how they've done, but everyone knows they have a good team."

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