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ANGEL NOTES

Ortiz Would Be Ready for Game 7

October 24, 2002|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

If the World Series extends to seven games, and if the Angels wish to use Ramon Ortiz as their starter in Game 7, he is expected to be available.

The right-hander complained of stiffness in his right wrist during his Game 3 start Tuesday. The injury was diagnosed Wednesday as tendinitis, and X-rays did not show any fracture. He is scheduled to work out today, his usual day to throw between starts.

Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Angels' medical director, said Ortiz was treated for intermittent discomfort in his right forearm late in the season. Ortiz did not miss a start or a throwing session between starts. In his final nine starts, he went 6-0 with a 2.77 earned-run average.

Ortiz said his wrist felt "a little bit tight" Tuesday but said he felt "fine" Wednesday. "I'm ready to go," he said.

Ortiz earned the victory Tuesday, giving up four runs in five innings. The Giants scored three of those runs in the bottom of the fifth, and the Angels removed him for a pinch-hitter in the top of the sixth, a decision Manager Mike Scioscia said was not related to the injury.

"That was purely performance-based," Scioscia said.

Ortiz is the likely starter for Game 7, on regular rest, but the Angels have not ruled out bringing back rookie John Lackey on three days' rest. The Angels also might wish to have Lackey available in the bullpen for Games 6 and 7, in relief of Kevin Appier and Ortiz.

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At the request of closer Troy Percival, the Angels do not employ an exaggerated infield shift when he pitches. While the Angels have defended Barry Bonds by moving second basemen Adam Kennedy and Benji Gil into short right field, shortstop David Eckstein to second base and third baseman Troy Glaus to shortstop, they played a normal defensive alignment when Bonds batted against Percival in Game 2.

Percival throws so hard that he believes a shift can be counterproductive.

"It takes away a pitch from me," Percival said. "If I throw 97 low and away, that's a hard pitch to pull. I prefer they play in their normal spots."

The Angels' scouting reports support Percival, according to bench coach Joe Maddon. While few ground balls might be hit to the opposite side of the infield against him, Maddon said plenty of pop flies are hit that way, so an infielder is needed to catch them.

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Jarrod Washburn starts -- and bats -- tonight for the Angels. He had one hit in five at-bats this season, lowering his lifetime average from .444 to .357.

"Not many guys are .400 hitters," he said with a smile. "I'm not Ted Williams."

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Disney is working with the city of Anaheim to stage a ceremony for the Angels following the World Series, win or lose. The event is expected to start at Disneyland and end at Edison Field, with a rally in the parking lot outside the ballpark.

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Are the World Series balls really juiced? San Francisco shortstop Rich Aurilia suggests one way you can tell.

"If you see Barry Bonds hit one out, I don't think anybody will say anything," Aurilia said. "If you see -- and I mean this in a good way -- David Eckstein hit four or five home runs, something might be up."

At that, Eckstein laughed. In his first World Series at-bat, the Angel shortstop said, he suspected something might be up when his line drive stayed aloft for Bonds to catch.

"It made it to the outfield," he said. "That's how I knew."

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Add this to the list of amazing things about Francisco Rodriguez's record-tying five postseason wins: Of the 10 pitchers who have recorded at least four postseason victories, he is the only reliever.

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Times staff writer Bill Plaschke contributed to this report.

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