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First-Round Pick Glaus Gets Record Signing Bonus

September 17, 1997|MIKE DiGIOVANNA and BILL SHAIKIN

The Angels agreed to terms Tuesday with first-round pick Troy Glaus on a $2.25-million signing bonus, ending a 3 1/2-month stalemate that cost the former UCLA infielder a chance to play this season.

Glaus, 21, signed a minor league contract that includes an invitation to spring training with the major league team next February, Angel scouting director Bob Fontaine Jr. said. His total signing package came to slightly more than $2.3 million.

Glaus will report for Thursday's opening of the fall instructional league in Mesa, Ariz. "I didn't want to wait until spring training to get started," Glaus said.

Glaus, who hit .409 with 34 home runs, 91 RBIs and 100 runs for UCLA last season, was the third overall pick in the June draft, but negotiations moved slowly throughout the summer while Glaus and advisor Doug DeCinces waited for other top picks to sign and help establish his market value.

The Angel front office, preoccupied with trade talks in an attempt to boost its pennant-contending team and bogged down by Tony Phillips' Aug. 10 drug arrest, didn't seem in any hurry to sign Glaus, either.

Had Glaus returned to UCLA for the fall quarter beginning Sept. 25, the Angels would have lost their rights to him, but school did not seem to be a serious option for Glaus.

"It was never a question of if [the deal] was going to happen," Glaus said. "It was a question of when. It wasn't a big nerve-racking thing."

The bonus represents a record for a player drafted in the first round and signed by the team that selected him, though No. 1 pick Matt Anderson and No. 2 pick J.D. Drew remain unsigned.

It also reflects a 43% jump from the $1.575 million the Angels paid to Darin Erstad as the first overall pick in 1995 draft.

Fontaine said Glaus probably would start 1998 at the Class-A level. Glaus will play shortstop and third base in instructional league. Although Glaus prefers shortstop, the trade of George Arias to the Padres in the Rickey Henderson deal leaves Glaus as the top third base prospect in the organization.

"It's created a little quicker path to the majors," Fontaine said.


Erstad, whose season--at least as a hitter and defensive player--may be over because of a shoulder injury, is not the easiest Angel to be around these days. In fact, clubhouse neighbor Jack Howell placed an upright exercise mat between their lockers to serve as a barrier Tuesday.

"He doesn't want to catch Erstad's surly attitude," one Angel said of Howell. "Darin is pretty mad about being hurt."

Erstad's shoulder had been bothering him for about three weeks, and he aggravated it Sept. 9 diving for a grounder in Toronto. "I tried to fight it as long as I could," said Erstad, who is limited to pinch-running duties, "but once I dove for that ball in Toronto I knew I was in trouble."

Can Erstad play again this season? "I don't know," he said. "I do know I can't play right now."


Opponent--Oakland Athletics, two games.

Site--Anaheim Stadium. Tonight--7:30

TV--None. Radio--KTZN (710).

Records--Angels 78-73, A's 61-90.

Record vs. A's--10-0.


* Update--If the Angels are going to pressure Seattle for the American League West title they will need to continue their dominance of the A's, which means Watson, who leads the major leagues with 35 homers allowed, and Jason Dickson, who ranks second with 30, must find a way to keep baseballs inside the park. "We can't afford to split this series," Manager Terry Collins said. "We have to play them like we have all year." Utility player Craig Grebeck, who has provided steady defense at shortstop, second and third, will not be able to play in the field again this season because of a shoulder injury, but he can be used as a pinch-runner.

Thursday, 3 p.m.--Jason Dickson (13-7, 4.06) vs. Dave Telgheder (3-5, 5.87).

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