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BASEBALL EXTRA / INTERLEAGUE PLAY | ANGEL REPORT :
NOTES

Erstad's Injured Elbow Can No Longer Be Hidden

June 15, 1997|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

The secret is out. The strained ligament in Darin Erstad's left elbow is bothering him so much that he can't throw, a development that forced Manager Terry Collins to move the first baseman to designated hitter Saturday night.

Erstad's elbow has been troubling him for more than a week, but Collins, hoping to shield the condition from opponents, declined to discuss it in detail. Erstad, asked about his arm last week, said it was "fine."

But it's nowhere near fine. Erstad probably will need surgery to repair the elbow after the season, a procedure that might sideline him for part of spring training in 1998.

Erstad has played through the pain, but after making two throws in Friday night's 8-7, 14-inning loss to the San Diego Padres, it became unbearable. Collins said Erstad probably would be the designated hitter today, and with Monday being an off day, he hopes Erstad will be ready for Tuesday night's game in Dodger Stadium.

"If we were in a National League city, he wouldn't play," Collins said. "I don't know if a couple days of rest will help. The trainers don't know. All I know is he can't throw. But he still has enough strength to hit."

Erstad didn't hurt the elbow on one specific throw, but Collins is concerned he might blow it out, the same way second baseman Randy Velarde did in spring training, if he continues playing with severe pain.

"It's the continual wear and tear," Collins said. "But he's swinging so well we want to make sure his bat stays in the lineup."

Center fielder Jim Edmonds, who has torn cartilage in his left knee, moved to first Saturday night, left fielder Garret Anderson moved to center, and designated hitter Tony Phillips played left.

Collins, meanwhile, might need a Red Cross volunteer to help fill out the lineup card. In addition to the injuries to Erstad and Edmonds, catcher Jim Leyritz is playing with a bruised sternum, second baseman Luis Alicea is recovering from a tight hamstring, relievers Rich DeLucia and Mike James are nursing sore elbows, and utility player Jack Howell has bone spurs in his right foot.

Are any Angels feeling really good?

"Yeah, Orlando Palmeiro," Collins said, referring to the reserve outfielder who has only 58 at-bats. "The days of feeling 100% pretty much ended when spring training started."

*

The Angels lost Friday night's game when the Padres staged a two-out rally in the top of the 14th inning off reliever Shigetoshi Hasegawa. Greg Vaughn walked and Quilvio Veras doubled to left-center field to score Vaughn with the winning run. Tim Worrell then retired the side in order in the bottom of the 14th for the save.

*

Angel pitcher Chuck Finley, who stayed home Friday because of a sinus infection, returned Saturday and felt strong enough to launch a ball into the right-field bleachers during batting practice. . . . Former Angel J.T. Snow received a warm ovation when he was introduced as the Giants' first baseman Saturday night. "I'm going to try to treat this like a normal game," said Snow, traded for pitcher Allen Watson last winter, "but I don't know if it will be like that."

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