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ANGELS REPORT

Glaus Has Been a Pleasant Surprise

April 28, 1999|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

The Angels couldn't be happier with third baseman Troy Glaus, who is batting .352 with 12 doubles and 11 RBIs and, with the exception of a botched rundown play Tuesday, has played better-than-adequate defense. But the youngster has developed a habit that has made some Angel coaches cringe.

Several times this season, including once on a play at the plate in which Texas catcher Ivan Rodriguez almost fell on Glaus' arm, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Glaus has dived head-first into bases.

"I've never seen a guy that big go head-first," Angel third base coach Larry Bowa said. "It's very dangerous, because there are so many ways to get hurt. Dive into the plate you can break your neck. Dive into a base and you can jam your wrist or break a finger, and the ball can hit you in the head."

Bowa said Glaus performed well in spring training sliding drills, and he is certainly capable of going feet-first into a base, but he acknowledged sliding is a matter of personal choice.

"They have to do whatever's comfortable," Bowa said.

"I'll just keep reminding him that a lot of guys get hurt going head-first."

Glaus said he slides head-first because that's the quickest way to the base.

"I'm not fast enough to go feet-first, and if I'm trying to steal a base or something, I try to get there as fast as I can," Glaus said. "It depends on the situation, too.

"If I have time, I'll go feet first."

Glaus admitted diving into home plate the first weekend of the season "was stupid on my part. I was fortunate to come out of that one OK. That won't happen again."

*

It's nearly May and the Angels are still carrying 12 pitchers, seven of them relievers, but with starters going into the seventh inning more often, "it's going to be tough to get [the relievers] enough work to keep them sharp," Manager Terry Collins said.

That means one will likely be sent to triple-A Edmonton soon so Collins can add another position player. A few weeks ago, that decision looked easy--left-hander Scott Schoeneweis, one of the franchise's top prospects, is a starter by trade and could pitch regularly at Edmonton.

But Schoeneweis has made things difficult for Collins because he seems to get better with every relief outing, going from a five-run shellacking on opening night to Monday night's three-inning, scoreless appearance in a 4-3 win over Toronto.

Whatever happens, Schoeneweis, who has a 4.76 earned-run average in 11 1/3 innings, believes his first taste of the big leagues, even though it is out of the bullpen, will help him as a starter.

"It's the type of thing where you learn every pitch is important, and you've got to come in and go after guys," Schoeneweis said.

"You don't have time to get comfortable or to get into the flow of the game. And facing big league hitters is so important--no matter what role I'm in, that's going to help me. I can see how my stuff works against them."

TONIGHT

ANGELS' TIM BELCHER (1-1, 8.53 ERA)

vs.

BLUE JAYS' DAVID WELLS (3-1, 3.42 ERA)

Edison Field, 7:30

TV--Fox Sports West. Radio--KLAC 570, XPRS 1090.

* Update--Mo Vaughn's left ankle continues to improve and he might return to first base by the end of this homestand. His inability to run at full strength has forced Collins to lift him for pinch-runners in the late innings of close games, decisions that sometimes hurt the Angels when, like Monday night, Vaughn's spot in the order comes up in the ninth or extra innings. "I'm trying to win the game before the 10th or 11th," Collins said. "The situation will dictate it. If he has a couple hits and is batting early in the seventh, chances are he'll come up in the ninth again, so I'll leave him in." The Blue Jays Tuesday recalled left-handed pitcher Steve Sinclair from triple-A Syracuse and sent outfielder Anthony Sanders to Syracuse.

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