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BASEBALL EXTRA | ANGEL REPORT : NOTES

That's a Big-League Step Chavez Has Taken in One Year

September 03, 1997|JOHN WEYLER

This time last year, Anthony Chavez was playing Class-A ball at Lake Elsinore and not even daring to dream about the major leagues. And he didn't feel much closer to the big leagues Sunday night, when Vancouver Manager Bruce Hines was called away from a team meal for a phone call.

When Hines returned, he proposed a toast that made Chavez choke on his entree. Turns out, Chavez had just been promoted to the Angels.

"I was very, very surprised," said the 26-year-old right-hander who was selected by the Angels in the 50th round of the June 1992 free-agent draft. "I'm still a little shaken up."

Chavez, who was 4-1 with 15 saves and a 2.45 earned-run average in 28 games with the Canadians, began the season with double-A Midland, where he was 1-2 with six saves and a 4.21 ERA. He's not the overpowering type, relying instead on "throwing strikes, getting ahead and keeping the ball down."

"The opportunity to help these guys out in a pennant race, it's just so great," he said. "I'm nervous, but I just need to get in a game and get that first one out of the way, then I'll be all right."

The first one wasn't half bad. Chavez came in to get the final out of the eighth and worked a one-two-three ninth on Tuesday night.

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The Angels added another arm to the bullpen Tuesday when they activated right-hander Rich DeLucia. DeLucia underwent surgery July 21 to remove an aneurysm in his right shoulder and surprised the team's medical staff with his rapid recovery.

Manager Terry Collins says it isn't fair "to expect the same pitcher we had when he got hurt," but DeLucia--who was 6-3 with a 2.41 ERA in 29 games this season--plans to be just that.

"I expect to get batters out, to throw scoreless innings," he said. "It's not like I'm going to look at it like, 'Oh, I'm just happy to be back and that's enough."'

The Angels wonder about DeLucia's arm strength after a five-week layoff, but DeLucia says they shouldn't judge his velocity by the couple of simulated games he's thrown recently.

"I'm not much for simulated games," he said. "I need that adrenalin rush to take up it up a notch."

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Center fielder Jim Edmonds was a late scratch from the lineup Tuesday afternoon when he phoned Collins to say he was en route to the hospital with his wife, LeAnn, who is expecting the couple's second child. "I just got him out of [the lineup]," Collins said, "I'm not sure how long these things take, but I didn't want him feeling like he had to rush back out to the park." . . . Pitcher Chuck Finley and catcher Todd Greene have new casts on their broken wrists with a device embedded in the plaster that resembles a Thermos top with electrical terminals. "It's a bone stimulator," Finley said. "It's supposed to promote healing. They say the bone will heal 20% faster, but I don't think that's been proven scientifically." . . . Collins on Mark Langston's decision to give up trying to come back in 1997: "What that guy has gone through the last two months to try and get back and to have it blow up in his face, that really hurts because you know how competitive he is and this is the time of year the Mark Langstons usually take over."

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