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BASEBALL EXTRA | ANGEL REPORT : NOTES

Perisho, Not Gross, to Start Wednesday

June 24, 1997|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

His rotation is not set in stone--Manager Terry Collins doesn't do anything in permanent marker these days--but rookie left-hander Matt Perisho will start against the Rangers on Wednesday instead of Kevin Gross.

Both Perisho and Gross were coming off excellent starts, Perisho a 6 1/3-inning, two-run, six-hit effort against Oakland last Thursday and Gross a 5 2/3-inning, two-run, four-hit game against Oakland on Friday.

But Gross is a more accomplished reliever, and the Angels' bullpen needed a booster shot Monday--closer Troy Percival had pitched in three consecutive games, Mike James had a tired arm, and Pep Harris' arm was stiff.

Collins also said a scouting report indicated a left-hander with Perisho's style might be more effective against Texas, so he went with the 21-year old.

"I'm going to be flexible with [the rotation], but we needed help in the bullpen tonight, and Kevin can do that," Collins said. "I'm not blowing out anyone's arm before the All-Star break."

*

Steve Ontiveros--remember him, Angel fans?--made a rehabilitation start for Class-A Lake Elsinore on Monday night and retired two players, one from the opposing San Bernardino team and himself.

Facing his third batter, Ontiveros threw a strike and then walked off the mound, complaining of elbow pain. Ontiveros lasted only 11 pitches, and his first five were balls.

Ontiveros, plagued by elbow injuries, has not made a regular-season appearance for the Angels since signing with them before the 1996 season.

*

The Angels were minutes from fielding their regular lineup for the first time since June 9 on Monday, but left fielder Garret Anderson was scratched because of a sinus infection. Designated hitter Tony Phillips moved to left, catcher Jim Leyritz to designated hitter and Chad Kreuter to catcher. . . . Second baseman Luis Alicea broke an 0-for-15 slump with a fifth-inning single Monday. . . . Darin Erstad, suffering from a nerve problem in his left elbow, made his second consecutive start at first base. In an effort to limit his number of throws, Erstad no longer takes infield practice. . . . Shortstop Gary DiSarcina is one of a handful of starters that hasn't been affected by the stomach virus going through the Angel clubhouse. What's his secret? "When you're a screwed-up individual," DiSarcina said, pointing to his head, "not much gets in."

TONIGHT'S GAME

ANGELS' DENNIS SPRINGER (4-2, 5.99 ERA) vs. RANGERS' KEN HILL (4-5, 4.01 ERA)

The Ballpark in Arlington, 5:30 p.m.

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

* Update--Springer won three consecutive starts in May, but the knuckleballer has struggled since, giving up 25 runs on 34 hits, including 10 homers, in his last five starts. Another rocky outing might result in a demotion to the bullpen. Starting pitching was supposed to be a Ranger strength, but Texas starters were 3-10 with a 5.36 earned-run average in 19 June games going into Monday night, and Hill has mirrored the rotation's struggles, going 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA in four June starts. The right-hander was 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA in four starts against the Angels last season. Defense was also a strength in 1996--the Rangers led the major leagues with a .986 fielding percentage and had only 87 errors--but Texas committed 55 errors through its first 72 games this season.

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