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Having Holtz Has Proven to Be a Tremendous Relief

September 01, 1997|MIKE DiGIOVANNA and MIKE DiGIOVANNA

If Troy Percival is the monster in the Angel bullpen, then Mike Holtz is the pesky fly, a guy who won't scare you but is difficult to swat.

He's only 5 feet 9 and 175 pounds, and he has an average fastball, but all the left-hander does is get people out. The Angels' most consistent reliever was at it again Sunday, replacing Mike James with a runner on second, no outs and the Angels leading, 7-4, in the seventh inning.

Holtz got Darryl Hamilton to pop to first, Bill Mueller to fly to center and Barry Bonds to ground back to the pitcher. Holtz then struck out cleanup batter Jeff Kent to start the eighth and retired Stan Javier and J.T. Snow on groundouts to lower his earned-run average to 1.63 in 56 appearances.

"His fastball may be average, but he has a very good curve and changeup," said Marcel Lachemann, Angel pitching coach. "He also uses deception in his delivery. He has a little turn [with his right leg] and you don't see the ball right away, and his curve comes from two or three different arm angles."

Holtz, who was recalled from double-A Midland after the 1996 All-Star break, can start his curve way inside against left-handers and make it break over the plate, or he starts it near the plate so it breaks out of the strike zone. Depending on his arm action, his curve can break sideways or downward.

"He has very good rotation on his curve and it keeps biting," Lachemann said. "A lot of guys go after it because it's in the strike zone, and it keeps moving away from them. And, like with anything else, the more success he's had the more confident he has become."


Teams can expand rosters to 40, but the Angels plan to recall only one player from triple-A Vancouver today, right-handed reliever Tony Chavez, who is 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA and 15 saves in 27 games.

Robert Eenhoorn, a utility infielder hitting .308 with 12 homers and 57 runs batted in, will probably be recalled later in the week, but most of the Angel additions will come from the disabled list.

Starter Mark Langston and reliever Rich DeLucia, who will throw in simulated games today, are expected to be activated soon, as is Mark Gubicza, who gave up four runs on seven hits in two innings of a rehabilitation start for Class-A Lake Elsinore on Sunday.

Second baseman Randy Velarde, out all season because of elbow surgery, will be activated and used exclusively as a pinch-runner.


Pennant fever hasn't exactly gripped San Francisco--with an average home attendance of 19,745, Giant fans barely have the pennant sniffles--but that changed when the 3Com Park scoreboard showed that Seattle took a 10th-inning lead over the Dodgers Sunday. "Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.!" Giant fans chanted. The Mariners did, but San Francisco still remained 2 1/2 games behind the Dodgers in the National League West. . . . The Giants recalled former Cal State Fullerton star Dante Powell from triple-A Phoenix after Sunday's game and optioned catcher Doug Mirabelli to Phoenix. The outfielder will be eligible for postseason play should the Giants make the playoffs.



* Opponent--Colorado Rockies, two games.

* Site--Anaheim Stadium.

* Tonight--7.

* TV--Fox Sports West tonight, Tuesday night.

* Radio--KTZN (710).

* Records--Angels 74-63, Rockies 68-70.

* Record vs. Rockies--1-1.


* Update--Neither Allen Watson nor Jason Dickson pitched well in his first start after learning ace Chuck Finley would be sidelined for the season--Watson gave up eight runs against Cleveland on Wednesday and Dickson gave up eight runs against San Diego on Thursday. That, Watson said, must change, and quickly. "Everyone says they don't put extra pressure on themselves, but deep down inside, when someone like Chuck goes down, you want to pick him up," Watson said. The Angels have not been tearing it up offensively--they've gone five games without reaching double figures in hits. The Rockies, however, have won six in a row and have hit 199 home runs this season.

* Tuesday, 7 p.m.--Jason Dickson (13-6, 3.93) v. Pedro Astacio (8-9, 4.18).

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