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Angel Prospect Makes Season Debut

May 29, 2000|CHRIS FOSTER

Francisco Rodriguez, the 18-year-old right-hander from whom Angel officials expect a lot in the future, has been sent to Class-A Lake Elsinore.

He pitched three innings, giving up two runs, in a 6-0 loss to San Bernardino Saturday in his first appearance of this season. Rodriguez, from Venezuela, has been rehabilitating from tendinitis in his right elbow.

Rodriguez, whose fastball has been clocked in the 90s, pitched only 13 games last season. He was 1-1 with a 3.31 earned-run average and 69 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings at Butte, the Angels' rookie league team, and gave up four runs in five innings in one game for Class-A Boise.

The Angels have good reason to take things slowly, including a $900,000 bonus when Rodriguez signed in 1998. It is the largest signing bonus handed out by the organization for a foreign-born player. He is ranked as the Angels' second-best prospect by Baseball America.

Meanwhile, Lake Elsinore had the player and pitcher of the week in the California League for May 8-14.

Gary Johnson, a left fielder, hit .433 with four home runs, two doubles and 13 RBIs in eight games. Right-hander John Lackey threw a three-hit shutout in a seven-inning game against Mudville on May 13.

Casey Kelley, first baseman for Class-A Cedar Rapids, hit home runs in three consecutive games last week--all with the bases empty. The streak was snapped Wednesday, when Kelley failed to get a hit as a pinch-hitter. Casey is hitting .216 with five home runs this season.

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