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Palmeiro Has Become Valuable Commodity

April 30, 2002|Chris Foster

Angel outfielder Orlando Palmeiro is always there.

He was there when Jim Edmonds was getting injured diving for fly balls and crashing into walls. He was there when center fielder Darin Erstad got injured diving for fly balls and crashing into walls.

"That's a tough role to fill," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's not as physically taxing as playing everyday. But being prepared every day, just in case you are playing, is tough."

Palmeiro has managed to do that the last four seasons with the Angels. He has played in at least 104 games the last three. Last week, he filled in for Erstad, who suffered a mild concussion diving to make a catch April 19.

He had a six-game hitting streak and scored eight runs in the seven games that Erstad sat out. Palmeiro also played flawlessly in left field--Garret Anderson had been moved over to Erstad's spot in center. "My role here is I have to be prepared to play every day," Palmeiro said. "When someone needs a day off or can't do the job because they are injured, I'm out there. That's why I'm here."

Palmeiro's downside is that he works well as a short-term replacement but his production tends to tail off as an everyday player. For brief periods, though, he is an effective leadoff-type batter, working deep into counts. "He is good in that role because he works at it," Coach Joe Maddon said. "He is always prepared for whatever situation he gets put into, which is why he is so good at this role."


Things happened in reverse for Angel shortstop David Eckstein over the weekend. He was hit by a pitch in his first at-bat Friday then had grand slams in consecutive games. Usually, it's the other way around.

And Eckstein does more than provide occasional power. A former second baseman, he has become increasingly effective as a shortstop.

The Angels have turned 28 double plays--five in the last two games--the second most in the American League. Eckstein started one double play and was the pivot on another to get the Angels out of jams Sunday. "Eck has worked really hard at that part of the game," Scioscia said. "He and [second baseman] Adam [Kennedy] have really improved how they turn that play at second base."


Opponent--Cleveland Indians, three games.

Site--Jacobs Field.

Today--4 p.m. PDT.

TV--ESPN Wednesday.

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

Records--Angels 10-14, Indians 13-12.

Record vs. Indians--1-2.




(1-3, 2.96 ERA)




(2-2, 6.43 ERA)

Update--The Angels have won four consecutive games. Their longest winning streak last season was six. They are averaging more than six runs in their last nine games. The Indians have lost 11 of their last 13. The Angels recalled pitcher Matt Wise from triple-A Salt Lake City to replace Donne Wall, who went on the disabled list Sunday.

Wednesday, 4 p.m.--Jarrod Washburn (2-2, 5.14) vs. Ryan Drese (2-2, 8.10).

Thursday, 4 p.m.--Kevin Appier (2-1, 3.49) vs. Chuck Finley (2-2, 6.75).

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