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BASEBALL EXTRA | ANGEL NOTES

Erstad Returns, but Shows He's Not Yet Ready

May 04, 1997|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

Angel first baseman and leadoff batter Darin Erstad returned to the lineup Saturday for the first time since straining his right hamstring April 23, but Manager Terry Collins had to pull him for a pinch-runner in the eighth inning of the first game, and Erstad sat out the nightcap.

"I felt weak--I couldn't run," Erstad said. "The leg is dead. I'm going to take some time to strengthen it up, but right now I don't have it."

Erstad, who was downcast after the doubleheader, has never had a hamstring injury, so he really doesn't know how long the healing process will take. Collins said he will not play in today's series finale in Chicago.

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Angel reliever Rich DeLucia has thrown one pitch in a save situation this season and he has more saves than closer Troy Percival. The right-hander replaced struggling Mike James in the ninth inning of Game 1 on Saturday and got Albert Belle to ground out on the first pitch with two on base to end the game.

"If it's going to happen, that's the way you want to do it," DeLucia said of facing Belle. "You don't want him working you, getting the count in his favor."

DeLucia, a middle reliever for most of his career, now has two saves, his first coming for Seattle in 1992.

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White Sox right fielder Tony Phillips dropped his appeal of a recent two-game suspension Saturday and will begin serving it today. . . . Intermittent rain and sunshine produced a lovely rainbow beyond Comiskey Park's center-field wall in the first inning of the second game. Belle's contract was believed to be at the end of the rainbow. . . . Jack Howell's third-inning home run in the second game ended a 48-inning homerless streak for the Angels.

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