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ANGEL REPORT

Life Is Not a Movie to Rookie Donnelly

April 08, 2002|Bill Shaikin

ARLINGTON, Texas — One of Disney's baseball players has absolutely no desire to rush to a theater and see Disney's latest baseball movie, "The Rookie."

"I'll wait for it to come out on video," Brendan Donnelly said.

The movie tells the story of Jim Morris, who in the summer of 1999 went from high school baseball coach to 35-year-old rookie with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. That summer is not as pleasant a memory to Donnelly, who was pitching well for Tampa Bay's triple-A team when they demoted him to double-A to make room for Morris.

Donnelly took his release instead. He likes and admires Morris--"He's a great dude," Donnelly said--but his real-life story was not, well, a Disney movie. One step away from making his major league debut with Tampa Bay, Donnelly then pitched in the minors for the Pirates, Blue Jays, Cubs and Angels before getting his first call-up to the majors Friday, at age 30.

His wife, Rhonda, was with him in Salt Lake City when he was promoted Friday, so she drove to Anaheim to meet him there today. After 10 years in the minors, Donnelly mused about how unfair it would be if his wife did not get to see his major league debut in person. But he did not pitch Saturday, the game was rained out Sunday, and his wife will be present when the Angels open a nine-game homestand tonight.

"That," he said, "will be an added bonus."

The Angels and Texas Rangers will make up Sunday's game as part of a doubleheader during the Angels' visit here June 24-27.

*

The rainout deprived infielder Scott Spiezio, suspended for the first five games, of his season debut.

"I was going to have a Cessna for my opening day fly-by," he joked. "I had Morganna coming out to give me a kiss."

The rainout also means that third baseman Troy Glaus, with three home runs in his last two games, will serve both games of his suspension against the Seattle Mariners instead of one each against Texas and Seattle.

"For my money, all the clubs in our division are contenders," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "I don't think there's any advantage or disadvantage to it."

*

Tim Salmon's poor 2001 season was not limited to offense. The right fielder struggled on defense too, and no longer is he considered one of the elite outfielders in the American League.

For the second day in a row, with the Angels planning to use one of their reserve outfielders, Salmon was the regular outfielder who would have moved to designated hitter for the day.

"I guess Garret and Darin fought harder than I did," Salmon said, referring to left fielder Garret Anderson and center fielder Darin Erstad.

Scioscia said he thought Salmon could "handle DH better" than Jeff DaVanon, who would have started in right field. Scioscia also said--and Salmon acknowledged--that his right knee still is swollen from being hit by a pitch in spring training.

"If there's an opportunity to get him off his feet, we'll take it," Scioscia said.

Salmon said that Scioscia told him he would be the DH in about 10 games this season, presumably when Brad Fullmer sits against tough left-handers. "I don't have a problem with it," Salmon said.

*

The Angels turned nine double plays in their first five games through Saturday, leading the majors in that category. The results were particularly pleasing to Scioscia and to infield coach Alfredo Griffin, the former Gold Glove shortstop who spent endless hours in spring training tutoring the Angels' double-play combination of shortstop David Eckstein and second baseman Adam Kennedy.

"A lot of the hard work they put in with Alfredo is paying off," Scioscia said, "and will continue to pay off."

The Angels ranked eighth in the league in double plays last season.

*

ON DECK

Opponent--Seattle Mariners, four games.

Site--Edison Field.

Tonight--7.

TV--Channel 9 tonight and Tuesday, Fox Sports Net on Wednesday.

Radio--KLAC (570) tonight and Wednesday; KPLS (830) Tuesday and Thursday; XPRS (1090) all four games.

Records--Angels 3-2, Mariners 3-3.

Record vs. Mariners (2001)--4-15.

*

TONIGHT

ANGELS'

JARROD

WASHBURN

(0-1, 9.00)

vs.

MARINERS'

PAUL

ABBOTT

(0-0, 13.50)

Update--Reliever Dennis Cook (bruised rib cage) will make a second rehabilitation appearance tonight for Class A Rancho Cucamonga. The Angels have lost eight consecutive games to Seattle at Edison Field, including Abbott's 14-5 victory over Washburn last September.

Tuesday, 7 p.m.--Kevin Appier (0-0, 3.60) vs. John Halama (0-0, 0.00).

Wednesday, 7 p.m.--Aaron Sele (0-1, 7.20) vs. James Baldwin (1-0, 1.28).

Thursday, 7 p.m.--Scott Schoeneweis (1-0, 1.08) vs. Freddy Garcia (0-2, 6.56).

Tickets--(714) 663-9000.

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