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NOTES

Something Shifty May Be in Works

October 19, 2002|Bill Shaikin; Mike DiGiovanna; Bill Dwyre | From Staff Reports

It's a novel defensive alignment, one the Angels still aren't sure whether they'll deploy tonight. But when the Angels do pitch to Barry Bonds, they might do so with four players in the outfield and three in the infield.

Bonds' hitting charts, freely available online, reveal several tendencies. He hits many more fly balls than he does ground balls. He sprays fly balls all around the outfield. But when he does hit a ground ball, he very rarely hits it to the left side.

In the division series against the New York Yankees, the Angels employed a radical shift against Jason Giambi, moving third baseman Troy Glaus to shortstop and playing the other three infielders on the right side. At the least, they plan to use a similar shift against Bonds.

The Angels would leave the left side vacant and add a rover -- probably second baseman Adam Kennedy -- to the outfield.

The Angels would not use it in all circumstances, because they would hesitate to leave third base uncovered with runners on base.

Manager Mike Scioscia would not say Friday how the Angels would set up the defense against Bonds, or in what situations they might pitch to him. But Scioscia did acknowledge that Bonds presents such a challenge that teams must think beyond conventional wisdom.

"You're going to see some things that maybe in other eras might seem extremely unconventional or way out there," Scioscia said, "but they make a lot of sense with the way Barry is."

*

Jarrod Washburn, who starts tonight for the Angels, said he felt fine Friday. He missed workouts Thursday because of mild flu.

Washburn said he would embrace the challenge of pitching to Bonds but would not apologize if the Angels decide to pitch around him.

"If we win the World Series and guys are calling me a wimp because I pitched around Barry Bonds," Washburn said, "who cares?"

*

After pitching six times in 12 days during the first two rounds of the playoffs, closer Troy Percival said he needed the extended break before the World Series.

"My arm finally feels good again," he said. "It took four days to get there."

*

Outfielder Orlando Palmeiro's wife, Tami, gave birth to the couple's first child Friday. The baby girl, named Faith, and mother are fine, awaiting Palmeiro's return home to Florida after the World Series.

Bill Shaikin

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Rookie John Lackey, who pitched seven shutout innings in the league championship series, could start Game 7 of the World Series. Ramon Ortiz is scheduled to start Game 3 and Lackey Game 4, but Scioscia said Lackey could get the call for a decisive Game 7 on three days' rest if he pitches as well as he did in the last round of the playoffs. Lackey, who limited the Twins to three hits in that Game 4 victory, will be available in relief tonight and also in a possible Game 7, if he does not start.

*

The Angels tried to get Nolan Ryan to throw out the ceremonial first pitch tonight, but the former flame-thrower couldn't make it.

Unable to find two 8-7 pitchers to take Ryan's place, the Angels settled for former owner Jackie Autry, who will throw out the first pitch with former Angel pitcher Chuck Finley catching.

Mike DiGiovanna

*

John Wooden, legendary UCLA basketball coach who turned 92 Monday and is a lifelong lover of baseball, will throw out the first ball of Game 2.

He said Friday that he was thrilled when he was notified he had been selected, and added, "I don't think I'll throw a spitball."

Bill Dwyre

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