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BASEBALL EXTRA | ANGEL REPORT : NOTES

Different Approach for Phillips

May 20, 1997|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

Imagine if the boss hired someone to take your job, and one of the first things the replacement did was ask you for advice on how to do the job better.

An awkward situation? Not in the Angel clubhouse, where new designated hitter Tony Phillips and former DH Eddie Murray shared a laugh-filled conversation before Monday night's game against Seattle.

So, what tips did Murray pass along?

"None that I'm going to tell you," said Phillips, acquired in a trade with the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. "All I know is I'm going to have to leave the dugout [between at-bats] because I can't listen to Eddie Murray all day."

Phillips, 38, has played nearly every position during his 15-year career, but he has never been a full-time DH.

"It's going to take some adjustments," Phillips said. "Do I sit on the bench between at-bats? Do I come in [the clubhouse] and relax? This is definitely new to me.

"I never liked DHing, but now I'm in a situation where I have to have a different mindset because I know this is going to be my role. Instead of saying I don't like it, I have to figure out how to deal with it."

*

Seattle ace Randy Johnson, who missed most of 1996 because of back surgery, did not bounce back well from Sunday's eight-walk, eight-strikeout performance against Baltimore.

"It's not so much my back, it's my whole body," Johnson told Seattle reporters. "I'm suffering with my mechanics and my health."

Still, the Angels were lucky to avoid the intimidating left-hander in this three-game series.

"No question about it," Manager Terry Collins said. "When you don't have to face the Johnsons, the [Roger] Clemenses. . . . They can really dominate games, so when you miss them, that's good for us."

*

Luis Alicea, suffering from a hyper-extended left shoulder, did not start Monday for the second consecutive game. The second baseman suffered the injury diving for a grounder against Milwaukee on Saturday. . . . Collins, asked if he maintained any superstitions during the Angels' win streak: "I wore the same underwear for five years in the minor leagues and still hit .250 . . . so no, I don't believe in that stuff."

TONIGHT'S GAME

ANGELS' JASON DICKSON (6-1, 3.19 ERA) vs. MARINERS' JEFF FASSERO (4-1, 3.38 ERA) Anaheim Stadium, 7 p.m.

TV--Channel 9. Radio--KTZN (710).

* UPDATE--Left-handed batters are hitting .179 against Fassero, so Collins will probably give first baseman Darin Erstad tonight off, and start Jim Leyritz at first and switch-hitting Chad Kreuter behind the plate against the Mariner left-hander. Seattle right fielder Jay Buhner is struggling so much that Manager Lou Piniella dropped him from the fifth to seventh spot in the order. The Mariners had also grounded into a league-high 43 double plays through Sunday's game. Angel first-base coach Dave Parker will miss the three-game series against Seattle to be with his wife, Kellye, who is undergoing surgery to repair a broken nose in Cincinnati. Bench coach Joe Maddon took Parker's place.

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