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Bonds Gives Angels a Special Designation

May 30, 2003|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Tim Salmon does not want to be the Angels' designated hitter in the next few years, but Barry Bonds might.

Bonds, who lives in Bel Air, told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat this week that he understands his body might not be able to withstand the rigors of outfield play much longer.

"I'll go to the [American League] to be a designated hitter," Bonds said. "I could play for Anaheim. It would be close to my home."

Bonds, 38, is signed with San Francisco through 2005, with an option for 2006. Salmon, 34, is signed with the Angels through 2005.

While the Angels would like Salmon to play less right field and more designated hitter in the next two years, and while the Angels already remove him for defensive purposes, he said he expects to complete his contract as an outfielder. The team will be better off, he said, by using him two to three times per week at DH but preserving the flexibility that enables Manager Mike Scioscia to use several players in that slot.

"I don't ever see myself pigeonholed solely as a DH," Salmon said. "I don't envision being a Chili Davis-type, full-time DH."

If Bonds truly wants that job, Salmon would welcome him.

"Any time one of the best players in baseball tells you he wants to play for your team, that's quite a compliment," Salmon said. "Any team would drool to have him in the lineup every day. You're talking about the best hitter in the game right now, maybe the best hitter of all time."


Center fielder Darin Erstad is scheduled to fly to Tucson today, joining the Angels' triple-A Salt Lake farm team for what is expected to be a weeklong rehabilitation assignment.... As he waits to see whether doctors clear him to resume pitching, closer Troy Percival is refining a modified delivery, lowering his trademark leg kick so as to place less stress on his injured right hip. Percival said he spends four hours per day in treatment and exercise, trying to strengthen the area around the joint.... Salmon, in a one-for-21 slump that dropped his average below .300 for the first time since April 9, did not start.... One day after suggesting he might delay Aaron Sele's next start, Scioscia said Sele would start as scheduled Sunday. Sele is 1-3 with a 9.00 earned-run average.

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