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ANGELS REPORT

Minor Tryout for Eckstein?

April 12, 2001|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

Second baseman David Eckstein has been getting plenty of extra work at shortstop every afternoon in preparation for a possible utility role when Adam Kennedy returns from the disabled list.

But Manager Mike Scioscia and the Angels would like to see Eckstein play shortstop in game situations to determine if he can handle the position, and that might necessitate a short stint in the minor leagues.

"I don't know if we can get enough of a look at him [at shortstop in practice]," Scioscia said. "The options are throwing him into a game here, which is possible, or getting him some games in triple-A. He plays the game with passion. He fits in well with these guys."

Kennedy, out since March 8 because of a broken bone in his right hand, played his third game with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga Wednesday. He will work out with the Angels today, and a decision will be made to either activate him for Friday's game or send him to triple-A Salt Lake for three games.

Once Kennedy returns, Scioscia said, the second base job is his, but Eckstein could see plenty of action there against left-handed pitchers. And if Eckstein can handle shortstop, he could spell Benji Gil against some right-handers, giving Eckstein a prominent role even though he wouldn't be considered a starter.

"Whatever it takes to help the team win, I'll do," said Eckstein, the only Angel to hit safely in the first eight games. "If they see [going to the minor leagues] as best, I'll do it."

*

Francisco Rodriguez, a hard-throwing 19-year-old Venezuelan who is one of the Angels' best pitching prospects, is in extended spring training in Arizona recovering from elbow tendinitis.

ANGELS'

MATT WISE

(1-0, 6.00 ERA)

vs.

RANGERS'

RICK HELLING

(0-1, 11.00 ERA)

Edison Field, 7

TV--Channel 9. Radio--KMXN (94.3 FM), XPRS (1090).

* Update--If Wise, who gave up four runs on six hits in six innings of Friday night's 5-4 win over Oakland, pitches well, Scioscia might keep the young right-hander in the rotation and move struggling starter Pat Rapp to the bullpen next week, after Ismael Valdes and Jarrod Washburn come off the disabled list.

* Tickets--(714) 663-9000

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