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ANGEL REPORT

Team Might Use Four-Man Rotation

September 23, 2004|Ben Bolch | Times Staff Writer

The Angels are considering bringing Kelvim Escobar back on three days' rest to pitch Tuesday against the Texas Rangers in the wake of another ineffective outing by fifth starter Aaron Sele.

Escobar, who pitched on three days' rest late last season for Toronto as the Blue Jays tried to catch Boston in the American League wild-card race, said he would be willing to do so again to help the Angels in their quest to win the AL West in the season's final week.

"It only takes my arm three days to recover from start to start," Escobar said.

"I'm good to go because I've been saving my arm lately."

Manager Mike Scioscia stressed that he would only bring back a pitcher on short rest if he felt that it would not put that pitcher at an increased risk of injury.

Escobar is scheduled to pitch Friday against the Oakland Athletics, and a particularly taxing outing could take him out of consideration for such a quick turnaround.

Scioscia said the Angels also could opt for a spot starter Tuesday from a list of candidates that includes Ramon Ortiz, Scot Shields and Kevin Gregg -- or stick with Sele, who was tagged for five runs and 10 hits in 2 1/3 innings Tuesday and has a 12.41 earned-run average in his last four starts.

If the Angels decided to go with Escobar on Tuesday and then stick with their four-man rotation the rest of the way, they would bring back Jarrod Washburn on three days' rest Wednesday, John Lackey on three days' rest Thursday and Bartolo Colon on three days' rest Friday in the opener of a season-ending series between the Angels and A's.

In that scenario, Escobar would pitch Saturday and Washburn on Sunday in the season finale -- again on short rest.

"If that's the way the math works, it looks doable," said Washburn, who pitched on three days' rest late in the 2002 season and in the ensuing playoffs that season.

Washburn said he might be uniquely qualified to pitch on short rest because he missed more than a month earlier this season with strained cartilage in his rib cage.

"I'm a little more fresh than guys normally would be at the end of a season because I haven't thrown as many innings," Washburn said.

"I feel like I let the guys down by not being able to be out there earlier in the year and help them out, so the more I can get out there and help our guys now, the better."

*

Just because prized prospect Dallas McPherson has found a spot in the lineup doesn't mean he considers these final two weeks an audition for the third baseman's job in 2005.

McPherson said his responsibility is to help the Angels win their division, not to put on a power display worthy of the 40 homers and 126 runs batted in he collected earlier this season in the minor leagues.

"When I get in there, I have to do what I can to produce runs, whether that's moving guys over or making routine plays," said McPherson, thrust into a regular role after a season-ending injury to Adam Kennedy.

"I can't look at it as an audition. I have to do my best to play a part and help us win."

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