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ANGELS REPORT

Ready or Not, Salmon Returns

May 09, 1998|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

Manager Terry Collins admits he doesn't know if activating Tim Salmon for tonight's game against the Detroit Tigers is the best idea.

"I certainly don't want to risk blowing [his foot] out," Collins said. "He could hit a ground ball to shortstop [tonight], and it may be his last at-bat for eight weeks."

Even Salmon, out since April 22 because of a partial tear in the plantar fascia ligament in his left foot, is unsure about his return as the team's designated hitter.

"There are no guarantees," he said. "There's just a feeling that, even with two months rest, it may not get better. It could go on me then just as easily as it could go on me now."

Collins will do everything he can to ease the burden on Salmon. The right fielder will not play the outfield for several weeks--designated hitter Cecil Fielder will move to first base, first baseman Darin Erstad to left field and left fielder Garret Anderson to right--and if Salmon is on second representing the tying or winning run late in the game, Collins will pinch-run for him.

"The key is everyone being on the same page," Salmon said. "I'll have to get time off when I need it, do what I can to manage the pain and learn to play with what I have."

Salmon, who has seven home runs, one fewer than team-leader Erstad, said an operation was "a last-case scenario" that would have sidelined him for eight weeks and wasn't seriously considered.

"If I [blow it out] we're all willing to accept it," Salmon said. "But maybe I can get by a whole season with it."

*

The last thing reliever Mike James wanted was to go onto the disabled list, but he knows Friday's decision to sideline him because of a partial tear in the flexor muscle of his right forearm was in his best interests.

"It's better to get this thing corrected now," said James, who joins pitcher Jack McDowell, catcher Todd Greene and second baseman Randy Velarde on the disabled list. "I threw [Friday], and it just didn't feel like I could be effective. I don't want to end my career because I came back throwing 75%."

The Angels replaced James on the roster with 23-year-old pitcher Jarrod Washburn, whose next pitch in the big leagues will be his first.

It didn't happen Friday and apparently won't any time soon because Collins said Washburn would be sent back to Vancouver when Salmon is activated today.

Tonight

ANGELS' CHUCK FINLEY (4-0, 1.79 ERA) vs. TIGERS' FRANK CASTILLO (0-1, 22.85 ERA)

Edison Field, 7 p.m.

TV--Fox Sports West

Radio--KRLA (1110), XPRS (1090), KIK-FM (94.3).

Update--Finley will be making his first start since last Saturday night, when a Chad Kreuter liner hit him just below his left elbow and knocked him out of the game in the fourth inning. The left-hander has won 14 consecutive games, dating to last June 27, and needs three more wins to tie the American League record of 17, set by Baltimore's Dave McNally (1968-69) and Cleveland's Johnny Allen (1936-37). Jack McDowell, who is recovering from an inflamed elbow, played catch again Friday, but Collins said it's doubtful he'll be able to return to the mound when he's eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday. William VanLandingham, who was outrighted off the 40-man roster, cleared waivers Friday and was sent to triple-A Vancouver.

Tickets--(714) 634-2000.

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