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DODGER-ANGEL REPORT

Evans and Tracy Still Have Faith in Beltre

June 17, 2002|Bill Shaikin and Ben Bolch

Despite the hitting and fielding woes of Adrian Beltre, Dodger General Manager Dan Evans said Sunday that the team is not contemplating the acquisition of another third baseman.

"Adrian is going to be our third baseman," Evans said. "He's going through a tough period. This is where your manager and coaching staff really benefit you. They can get a young player through tough times. He's still learning at the major league level. He'll be all right."

Beltre, 23, in his fourth full season, leads National League third basemen with 11 errors. He hit .290 two years ago, with 20 home runs and 80 strikeouts. He is hitting .244 this season, on pace for 14 homers and 95 strikeouts. Manager Jim Tracy dropped Beltre to the eighth spot in the lineup Saturday.

"He'll work through it," Tracy said. "We've all been in ruts where we've had to dig ourselves out no matter what walk of life or our job description entails.

"When any one of us has a bad day or a series of days that hasn't been so good, you're hopeful you're working for somebody that understands that as long as we continue to see 100% effort, you're going to get every opportunity to get it all figured out. We need this guy. He's a very talented young man."

The Philadelphia Phillies are trying to trade disgruntled third baseman Scott Rolen, who has an $8.6-million contract this season and has all but vowed to leave as a free agent this fall. The Dodgers have not discussed trading for Rolen.

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Donald Watkins, the Alabama businessman interested in buying the Angels, visited Southern California last week to meet with Anaheim Sports President Paul Pressler and other Disney executives, sources said Sunday.

The meetings included discussion of how a potential player strike might affect the value of the franchise. Watkins is expected to meet with his advisors this week to discuss how to structure a purchase offer and is considering the subsequent submission of two bids for the Angels, a lower one in the event of a strike and a higher one if a strike is averted. In March, Watkins submitted a preliminary offer of $250 million for the team.

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When the Angels reported to spring training, Manager Mike Scioscia had a set lineup, featuring Tim Salmon hitting third. When Salmon stumbled so badly at the start of the season, bottoming out at .135 on April 19, Scioscia dropped him in the batting order and used several hitters in the No. 3 spot. He eventually settled on Troy Glaus, who has batted third in every game since May 9.

Salmon had two more hits Sunday. He is hitting .345 since May 1 and .285 overall. Glaus went hitless Sunday, striking out twice. He is hitting .224 since May 1 and .249 overall.

But, as long as the Angels are winning and Glaus is producing runs--he leads the team in runs scored and runs batted in--Scioscia is hesitant to mess with success.

"We've talked about moving Salmon back up, but right now the lineup works the way it is," Scioscia said. "If Troy continues to struggle, we'll consider other things, but I don't think his struggles have affected our club very much offensively."

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The three-game series drew 156,070, the most for a three-game series at Dodger Stadium since the Cincinnati Reds played here in the series that opened the home schedule two years ago.... Eric Karros homered, doubled and singled off Jarrod Washburn, lifting his lifetime average against the Angel ace to .583 (seven for 12). Said Washburn: "I'm sure Karros wakes up with a smile on the day I'm pitching."

Dave Roberts, who doubled as a pinch-hitter and scored the winning run, is four for four as a pinch-hitter.... Tracy said Omar Daal would start Saturday against the Boston Red Sox. After he complained of biceps tendinitis after his last start, the Dodgers skipped him this time through the rotation.

Triple-A Salt Lake pitcher John Lackey, whom the Angels are considering for a spot start in a June 24 doubleheader at Texas, pitched a four-hit shutout Saturday in a 1-0 victory over Tucson. Lackey won his seventh consecutive decision and lowered his earned-run average to 2.70.

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