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ANGELS REPORT

Hasegawa and Percival to Share the Closer Role

August 29, 2000|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

The job Shigetoshi Hasegawa has done filling in for injured closer Troy Percival has been too impressive for Mike Scioscia to ignore.

The Angel manager acknowledged Monday that Hasegawa and Percival will handle closing responsibilities "in a tandem role" while Percival rebounds from an inflamed nerve in his elbow that sidelined him for three weeks.

"We're a better team when we have an effective Percival closing," Scioscia said. "But the variable right now is Troy's health. There are a lot of concerns, and we have to monitor him. We're going to need both to close games down the stretch."

Percival underwent shoulder surgery last winter, but admitted he came back too soon, compensating for his weakened shoulder by throwing more with his elbow in April. By late May he was suffering elbow pain and pitching through it, saving 25 games but blowing a career-high nine save opportunities.

The right-hander returned from the disabled list Saturday night, eager to put his new cut-fastball to the test, and gave up a two-run home run to Cleveland's Travis Fryman with the pitch.

Hasegawa, meanwhile, is five for six in save opportunities in August, including his two-inning save against Cleveland Sunday night. The right-hander has a 3.30 earned-run average in 54 appearances and has not given up a home run since June 28, a span of 21 appearances. Because of Hasegawa's success, the Angels can afford to bring Percival along slowly.

"We don't want to stretch Troy too far in terms of throwing on consecutive days," Scioscia said. "We'll have to handle him with kid gloves."

*

It's not the excruciating pain he felt throughout 1999, but every time Mo Vaughn rounds a base and hits a bag with his left foot, a sharp pain shoots through his ankle, the one he severely sprained in the 1999 season opener.

"I wish I could just cut that ligament out and deaden the pain, but what are you going to do?" said Vaughn, who entered Monday night's game with a .288 average, 31 homers and 98 runs batted in. "I've got to do something in the off-season to get rid of this pain."

Vaughn believes he could run the bases a lot better if he was pain-free, "and I'd feel better waking up every day," he said. "It's just something I have to fight through."

*

Angel first-round pick Chris Bootcheck has been granted his release from Auburn and is in the process of transferring to another Division I school, believed to be Georgia Tech. The pitcher is weighing a $1.6-million offer to sign with the Angels. . . . Catcher Matt Walbeck, sidelined because of patella tendinitis, took batting practice for the first time Monday and expects to be ready when he's eligible to be activated Friday. . . . Reliever Mike Fyhrie, out since Aug. 12 because of an inflamed elbow, threw off the mound for the first time Monday and could be ready by next week.

TONIGHT

ANGELS'

SCOTT KARL

(0-0, 0.00 ERA)

vs.

BLUE JAYS'

CHRIS CARPENTER

(9-10, 6.63 ERA)

Edison Field, 7

TV--Fox Sports Net. Radio--KLAC (570), XPRS (1090).

* Update--Karl, a 29-year-old left-hander, will be making his Angel debut after he was acquired from Colorado last week. Karl throws a fastball, slider and changeup and relies on location and changing speeds a lot more than velocity. He went 2-3 with a 7.68 ERA in 17 games with the Rockies. To make room for Karl, the Angels sent left-hander Juan Alvarez to triple-A Edmonton.

* Tickets--(714) 663-9000.

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