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ANGEL REPORT

Erstad Is Willing to Sign Extension Now

July 05, 2002|Bill Shaikin

Outfielder Darin Erstad said Thursday he is willing to forgo free agency and sign a long-term contract extension with the Angels before the end of the season.

"I'm a loyal guy," he said. "The Angels have been good to me, through the good times and the bad times. I have no intention of going anywhere else."

General Manager Bill Stoneman said--and Erstad acknowledged--that the two sides had agreed last winter to defer contract talks until the coming off-season. Erstad said he is not concerned about his contract and would not mind if the Angels still wanted to wait. But Erstad also said he is more comfortable with the idea of signing a long-term contract to stay in Anaheim now than he was in the off-season, or in spring training.

Said Stoneman: "We love him. We hope he's here for a long time."

Erstad, 28, was a finalist for the American League All-Star team. He is hitting .310 with six home runs and 48 runs batted in, and he ranks among league leaders in batting average, hits and stolen bases.

"He's the leader of this team," pitcher Jarrod Washburn said. "I don't think we can afford to lose him, for all the things he does on the field and for his leadership. I think they need to do whatever needs to get done to keep him here for a long time."

Erstad agreed last winter to a one-year, $6.25-million contract. An executive from another major league club suggested Erstad could be in line for a contract similar to that of Oakland outfielder Jermaine Dye.

The A's signed Dye last winter for three years and $32 million.

*

In an age where baseball's popularity among youth already is declining, Angel Manager Mike Scioscia is concerned that a strike or lockout could so alienate youngsters--and their parents--that some kids with major league potential might swear off the sport entirely. The players' union could set a strike date at a board meeting Monday.

"That's what's disturbing about work stoppages: It definitely impacts the popularity of baseball," Scioscia said. "If a youngster is not going to ballgames because his dad is upset those guys are on strike, it obviously affects the next generation of talent that comes into the big leagues, because you'll lose some of it."

ON DECK

Opponent--Tampa Bay Devil Rays, three games.

Site--Edison Field.

Tonight--7.

TV--Fox Sports Net, tonight and Saturday.

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

Records--Angels 48-35, Devil Rays 28-54.

Record vs. Devil Rays (2001)--7-2.

TONIGHT

ANGELS'

AARON SELE

(7-5, 5.03 ERA)

vs.

DEVIL RAYS'

JOE KENNEDY

(5-7, 4.16 ERA)

Update--The Devil Rays have the worst record in the major leagues and have lost eight consecutive road games. Kennedy has pitched a complete game in each of his last two starts. Angel designated hitter Brad Fullmer returned Thursday after flu sidelined him for two days.

Saturday, 7 p.m.--John Lackey (1-1, 2.77) vs. TBA.

Sunday, 5 p.m.--Ramon Ortiz (8-6, 3.38) vs. Tanyon Sturtze (1-9, 4.81).

Tickets--(714) 663-9000.

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