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Lots to Choose From With Early Pick

May 29, 1997|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

The Angels have the third pick in Tuesday's amateur baseball draft and should have their choice between two highly regarded pitchers and two highly rated power hitters.

The Detroit Tigers are expected to use the No. 1 pick to select Matt Anderson, a Rice pitcher whose fastball has been clocked in the 98-mph range, and Philadelphia is believed to be leaning toward Florida State outfielder J.D. Drew, who has 28 homers, with the second pick.

If the Angels go with a pitcher, the likely picks are Jason Grilli, a Seton Hall right-hander who struck out 125 in 81 innings this season and is the son of former major league pitcher Steve Grilli, or Ryan Anderson, a 6-foot-10 left-hander from Dearborn (Mich.) Divine Child High who is being touted as a potential Randy Johnson.

If they go with a position player, the Angels will likely choose UCLA infielder Troy Glaus, who is batting .413 with 32 homers and 88 runs batted in, or Rice first baseman Lance Berkman, who is hitting .438 with 41 homers and 134 RBIs.

There's also an outside chance the Angels could select pitchers Jon Garland of Granada Hills High or Rich Ankiel of Port St. Lucie (Fla.) High.

With last year's No. 3 pick, Braden Looper of Wichita State, signing with the St. Louis Cardinals for $1.675 million, the third pick in 1997 is expected to command a signing bonus in the $2 million range.

But the Angels won't need another chunk of money to sign a second-round pick, because they lost theirs to Seattle as compensation for signing free- agent third baseman Dave Hollins last winter.

Because there are a record 21 "sandwich" picks between the first and second rounds, selections awarded to clubs that lost certain free agents, the Angels' third pick of the third round will be the 87th overall selection.

"But a lot of people like this draft and think it's deep," General Manager Bill Bavasi said, "so we should do well in the later rounds."


Angel pitchers will resume batting practice in Anaheim Stadium on Friday in preparation for interleague play, which begins with a two-game series against the San Diego Padres on June 12-13 at home.

One sight you won't see: Chuck Finley standing too close to the batting cage. Finley suffered a fractured facial bone in spring training when Mike James lost the grip on his bat and it struck Finley in the face, sidelining the left-hander for almost a month.

All pitchers will hit before each game during the five-game homestand, and the starters, who are likely to receive most of the at-bats, will take batting practice on the next road trip.

"I just want them to bunt, take some swings and get a feel for the bats," said Manager Terry Collins. "I'm not expecting them to win any games for us. I just expect them to bunt a runner over and not get hurt."




Oakland Coliseum, 12:15 p.m.

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

* Update--Watson was hoping to square off against Oakland pitcher Steve Karsay--the two went to the same high school, Christ the King in New York, graduating two years apart--but missed him by a day. Karsay started Wednesday night against the Angels. "Maybe next time," Watson said. Watson overhauled his mechanics before his last start, moving more toward the first-base side of the rubber and standing in a more upright position out of the stretch. The left-hander responded with a four-hit, seven-inning shutout of Toronto in a 3-1 victory Saturday. Watson had given up 14 runs on 19 hits in his previous three outings. Wengert will make his first start of the season after moving from the bullpen to replace Mike Mohler in the rotation.

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