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Decisions Made on Three Players


The Angels picked up reliever Shigetoshi Hasegawa's $1.15-million option for 2001 on Monday, and, as expected, declined to pick up 2001 options on pitcher Tim Belcher for $5.1 million and shortstop Gary DiSarcina for $3.45 million.

The team was required to pay Belcher a $1-million buyout.

That does not mean the Angel careers of Belcher and DiSarcina are necessarily over.

Though both will become free agents, General Manager Bill Stoneman said the team will continue to negotiate with Belcher and DiSarcina, both of whom have indicated they would be willing to return under new contracts with lower base salaries.

Belcher, a 39-year-old right-hander, was limited by elbow injuries to nine starts in 2000, going 4-5 with a 6.86 earned-run average.

But he felt in September that he had finally overcome the elbow problems that have hindered him since the middle of 1999 and forced him to have surgery last winter.

DiSarcina played only 12 games in 2000, batting .395 with 11 runs batted in, but his season was cut short in early May by a shoulder injury that resulted in season-ending rotator-cuff surgery on May 25.

An eight-year veteran who has been the glue to the Angel infield since 1992, DiSarcina was recently cleared to resume throwing and hopes to be ready by spring training.

If Belcher and DiSarcina return, it will be under contracts that are light in base salary and heavy in incentives for innings pitched and plate appearances, deals that should pay well if both win their jobs back.

The decision to pick up Hasegawa's option was a no-brainer. The versatile and resilient right-hander was the most valuable player of the pitching staff last season, going 10-6 with a 3.57 earned-run average and nine saves in 66 appearances.

"He made it easy for us," Stoneman said. "The bullpen, after April, was a source of strength for us, and if Shige was not the key part of it, he was definitely one of the keys. He was so good."

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