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ANGEL REPORT

Guillen Won't Come Out of the Lineup

September 12, 2004|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

After feeling a "really hard pinch" in the back of his neck while swinging at an outside pitch Friday night, Jose Guillen was pulled after seven innings and said he was advised by the Angel medical staff to take a few days off.

So, where was Guillen on Saturday night? Starting in left field, of course, the area above his neck a bigger deterrent to the bench than any area below.

"I have a hard head," Guillen said. "I don't believe those words the doctors are saying. I don't care. Sometimes you've got to make some tough decisions in life. To me, I just want to play, because what happens if I stop playing and stop producing? They slap you in your [rear end] and say, 'Get outta here.' "

Guillen, who sat out two games last weekend because of swelling in his wrists and general soreness, said the nerve condition in the area between his neck and right shoulder affects his swinging and throwing.

He has one of baseball's strongest arms, and he vowed before Saturday night's game not to let the injury affect him. "If I have to make a throw, I'm going to make it and pray nothing weird happens," Guillen said.

That was easier said than done. In the second inning, Guillen fielded Paul Konerko's bases-loaded double in the left-field corner but looped a throw toward the infield. Had he put his normal zip on the ball, the Angels might have cut down the third runner at the plate. Of course, that final run capped an eight-run inning, so Guillen probably didn't want to waste his arm in that situation.

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Tim Salmon will undergo cartilage-replacement surgery on his left knee this week, a procedure that will require the 36-year-old veteran to be on crutches for at least six weeks.

When he is able to bear weight on the knee -- probably early December -- Salmon will undergo surgery to repair four tears in his left shoulder.

There is a good chance Salmon will sit out the 2005 season, but he has vowed to attempt a comeback because he doesn't want to leave the game under these circumstances.

"Everything will be dictated by how the surgeries go," Salmon said.

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Andres Galarraga did not have an at-bat in his first nine games after being called up by the Angels on Sept. 1, and it appears he won't have many chances to hit the two home runs he needs to reach 400. He pinch-hit, and grounded out, for Troy Glaus in the eighth inning of Saturday's loss. But even if Galarraga falls short of the milestone, the 43-year-old veteran probably won't return in 2005.

"I want to spend more time with my family," Galarraga said. "The two homers are important, but to me, beating cancer for the second time was more important. It's a good message for a lot of people who have been sick, to keep fighting."

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