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BASEBALL NOTES

Angels Court Johnson

November 21, 1998|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

The Angels are trying to close a deal for pitcher Randy Johnson, one of the premier free agents on the market, so who better to summon than their closing specialist?

Angel relief ace Troy Percival played an integral part in the recruitment of Johnson Friday, having lunch with the 6-foot-10 left-hander, his wife and several Angel executives in Edison Field's Diamond Club, accompanying Johnson on a tour of the stadium and showing him around town for a few hours.

Johnson's agent, Barry Meister, had two lengthy meetings with Angel General Manager Bill Bavasi, and Johnson watched Friday night's Mighty Duck hockey game with Walt Disney Co. Chairman Michael Eisner, receiving a warm ovation when he was introduced to the Arrowhead Pond crowd.

Johnson, who has made three recruiting visits and will meet with Dodger officials today, is pondering an offer from the Angels that is believed to be for three or four years and in the range of $12 million a year.

"They've handled things very professionally, just like all the other teams I've visited," said Johnson, an Angel nemesis during his 10-years career in Seattle. "But that's about all I want to say at this point."

The Angels are also close to an agreement with first baseman Mo Vaughn, who was offered a six-year, $72-million deal. Vaughn and Johnson could make decisions by Thanksgiving, but Angel President Tony Tavares would not say Friday whether the Angels are prepared to sign both and add some $24 million to their 1998 payroll.

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