Rookie Troy Glaus has begun to swing the bat a little better, but the Angels are so happy with his defensive skills they've hardly noticed his struggles at the plate.
A shortstop at UCLA, Glaus had 109 games at third in the minors and is now trying to learn to play the position in the big leagues.
"He's got good hands, good feet and a great arm and that's a nice combination," shortstop Gary DiSarcina said. "He also has great range. He's got these big octopus arms that just unravel to reach the ball. He's helped me out in the hole a bunch this season.
"And he's already figured out how to take a drop step and just rely on his arm on those tough, short-hop topspin balls."
What DiSarcina finds most impressive, however, is Glaus' ability to separate his play at third from his offensive woes.
"Even when he wasn't swinging the bat well at all, he never seemed to take it out on the field and that's a trap we all can fall into," he said. "That showed a lot of maturity."
Glaus, who doesn't want to even talk about shortstop because "third is the position I have here," takes a similarly matter-of-fact approach to his new position.
"I feel pretty good there, but you can always get better," he said. "The biggest adjustment is that you have a lot less time to decide what you're going to do than you do at short."
Center fielder Jim Edmonds, who suffered a bruised upper back when he slammed into the wall Friday night, said Sunday that he felt as if he'd been in a car accident.
For the time being, Orlando Palmeiro or Reggie Williams will play center and Todd Greene will play left, but Manager Terry Collins may decide to put Edmonds on the disabled list if he isn't ready to play by Wednesday when the Angels and Yankees play a doubleheader.
"I don't want to go into that doubleheader short-handed," Collins said.
Third baseman Dave Hollins, who underwent shoulder surgery Wednesday, returned home to Buffalo, N.Y., on Sunday. He will join the team in Cleveland and return to Anaheim on Sept. 3.
"I have to stay in the sling for two weeks before I start any kind of exercises and it will be three months before I can throw, hit or lift weights," he said.
"But it's a good thing I had it done. There was a lot of stuff they had to fix and there was a good chance that if I kept playing I would have blown the whole thing out. Then it would've been 18 months out of the game, and I can't afford to do that."
Catcher Charlie O'Brien, acquired in a trade with the White Sox last month while on the disabled list because of a broken right thumb, will begin playing with Kansas City's double-A affiliate in Wichita today and join the Angels in Cleveland on Sept. 1. . . .Angel right-hander Ken Hill threw before Sunday's game and is scheduled to start Friday in Boston.
* Opponent--New York Yankees, five games.
* Site--Yankee Stadium.
* TV--Channel 9, today, Tuesday, Wednesday (second game) and Thursday.
* Radio--KRLA (1110), XPRS (1090).
* Records--Angels 71-59, Yankees 94-33.
* Record vs. Yankees--3-3
(2-2, 4.05 ERA)
(14-7, 3.73 ERA)
* Update--"It's no secret these are big games," Angel Manager Terry Collins said, "but it's good to be challenged this time of year. If you like to compete, there's no better time than this. This is going to be fun." The Angels would probably enjoy themselves a lot more if they can pry a couple of victories out of this series and head for Boston still in first place. The Yankees have won 25 of their last 33 games. McDowell was everything the Angels hoped he would be Wednesday in his return after 2 1/2 months on the disabled list. He gave up five hits and no runs in seven innings against Detroit without walking a batter.
* Tuesday, 4:30 p.m.--Omar Olivares (7-8, 4.03) vs. Hideki Irabu (11-6, 3.47).
* Wednesday, 1st game, 10 a.m.--Jeff Juden (0-2, 5.59) vs. undecided
* Wednesday, 2nd game, 4:30 p.m.--Steve Sparks (8-2, 4.20) vs. David Wells (16-2, 3.26)
* Thursday, 4:30 p.m.--Chuck Finley (10-6, 2.98) vs. David Cone (18-4, 3.58)