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ANGELS REPORT

Timetable Pushed Back for Belcher's Return

May 04, 2000|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

Manager Mike Scioscia insists Tim Belcher is only going through "a dead-arm phase," that the veteran right-hander has not re-injured the elbow he had surgically repaired last November.

Although the Angels do not consider Belcher's setback serious, attempts to prepare him for his return do not appear to be going very well.

Belcher, scratched from Sunday's rehabilitation start for triple-A Edmonton, was hoping to throw in the bullpen Tuesday with the intent of returning to Edmonton to start Friday or Saturday.

But Belcher did not work out in the bullpen Tuesday, he did not throw in the bullpen Wednesday, and when asked if he had a specific day in mind for his next bullpen workout, Belcher said, "Not right now."

Instead, Belcher's next step will be to throw off flat ground, probably today or Friday, and if he feels OK after that, he'll throw in the bullpen.

Not until he successfully completes those two steps will Belcher return to Edmonton, where the Angels would like him to make at least two more starts before joining the Angel rotation.

So instead of Belcher's return to Anaheim being pushed back four or five days, as he projected last weekend, the setback will probably cost Belcher at least a week and a half, maybe two weeks. The team is now shooting for a mid-May comeback.

"Hopefully this is a little bump in the road," said Bud Black, Angel pitching coach. "We're just giving him a little extra time to bounce back from surgery."

*

The moment shortstop Gary DiSarcina released his throw on Charles Johnson's routine fifth-inning grounder Tuesday night, it was obvious something was wrong.

The throw sailed several feet over first baseman Scott Spiezio's head, resembling several of the throws DiSarcina made last summer when he finally admitted he had a sore shoulder and went to the bench.

Sure enough, DiSarcina was removed from the game the next inning because of tightness in the shoulder, a condition that will probably sideline him for at least another two or three days.

"This is getting old," said DiSarcina, who spent 15 days on the disabled list in April because of a bruised left thumb. "My whole career, up until I broke my arm [in 1999], I've been used to playing every day, 150 games a year, and I take pride in that.

"I don't know if it's my age [32]. . . . I know it's not because I don't take care of myself. I work hard at that . . . but you feel you're letting everyone down. But at the same time, I can't perform like I did [Tuesday] night."

DiSarcina will undergo treatment and will be reevaluated Friday or Saturday. Scioscia said second baseman Adam Kennedy and third baseman Troy Glaus will back up shortstop Benji Gil.

TODAY

ANGELS'

KEN

HILL

(2-3, 7.12 ERA)

vs.

ORIOLES'

MIKE

MUSSINA

(1-2, 3.83 ERA)

Camden Yards, Baltimore, noon PDT

Radio--KLAC (570), XPRS (1090)

* Update--The Orioles on Wednesday put first baseman Will Clark, who ranked fifth in the American League with a .367 batting average and led the league with a .524 on-base percentage through Tuesday's games, on the disabled list because of a strained left hamstring. He suffered the injury Tuesday night against the Angels. Third baseman Ryan Minor was recalled from triple-A Rochester to replace Clark on the roster. Mussina, the Oriole ace, went five starts without a victory to open the season, tying the longest winless streak of his career. Baltimore scored a total of 13 runs in those five starts. Hill has a 1-2 record and 6.06 earned-run average (33 earned runs in 49 innings pitched) against the Orioles in his career.

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