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ANGEL NOTES

Game 3 Winner Ortiz to Have Wrist Examined Today

October 23, 2002|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO -- Ramon Ortiz, in line to start a possible Game 7 of the World Series, is scheduled for examination today after complaining of stiffness in his right wrist Tuesday.

Ortiz earned the victory Tuesday, pitching the first five innings of the Angels' 10-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants in Game 3 of the World Series. During the fourth and fifth innings, catcher Bengie Molina said he noticed that the velocity on Ortiz's fastball had dropped from 94-95 mph to 88-89 mph, and he asked the pitcher what might be wrong.

"He told me his wrist was bothering him a little bit," Molina said.

Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Angels' medical director, said Ortiz would be examined today. He said Ortiz already is on anti-inflammatory treatment routine to pitchers.

After the game, Ortiz said his wrist felt fine and declined to discuss the matter further. Angel Manager Mike Scioscia said a wrist injury would not necessarily explain a drop in velocity and in any case said he was not overly concerned about Ortiz's wrist.

"It's a little stiff," Scioscia said, "but I don't think it's an issue."

Brendan Donnelly and Scott Schoeneweis followed Ortiz to the mound, with each pitching two innings of scoreless relief.

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With Benji Gil expected to start ahead of Adam Kennedy at second base tonight, a Barry Bonds shift will be particularly pronounced. Gil has an exceptional arm, so he can play very deep -- at times, close to right fielder Tim Salmon -- and still be able to throw Bonds out at first.

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Rookie John Lackey has not batted in the major leagues, but he has hit a game-winning home run in the World Series -- in the National Junior College World Series, in 1999. As a first baseman-pitcher at Grayson County College in Texas that year, Lackey hit .428 with 15 home runs. Lackey will start tonight and, with National League rules in force, he will bat.

He turns 24 today, becoming the third pitcher to start a World Series game on his birthday. Johnny Podres of the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers won on his birthday; Brickyard Kennedy of the 1903 Pittsburgh Pirates lost on his birthday -- to Cy Young.

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With the designated hitter benched in an NL ballpark, Scioscia moved Kennedy from ninth to seventh in the lineup, ahead of Molina. Scioscia said he believed Kennedy could better protect Scott Spiezio, who batted sixth. Kennedy is hitting .367 in the playoffs, Molina .194.

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The Angels have set a record for home runs in postseason play -- 21, and counting. During the regular season, no Angel hit more than 30 home runs. Only three AL teams -- the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Devil Rays -- hit fewer homers than the Angels.

Mickey Hatcher, the Angel hitting coach, recalled playing for the Dodgers in 1988, when he hit one home run during the regular season and two during the World Series. "You feel so good about being here," he said, "and all that energy gives you a little extra boost."

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Darin Erstad has hit in all 12 playoff games, tying the New York Yankees' Derek Jeter for the longest hitting streak in a postseason.

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