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ANGEL/WHITE SOX REPORT

Paul Says He'd Do Same Thing

October 15, 2005|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

All Angel catcher Josh Paul had to do Wednesday was tag A.J. Pierzynski before rolling the ball back to the mound on Kelvim Escobar's ninth-inning strikeout, and the controversy and national debate that ensued -- umpire Doug Eddings' ruling that Paul had trapped the ball, Pierzynski being awarded first base after running to the bag, the White Sox winning Game 2 three pitches later -- would have been avoided.

Two days removed from the bizarre and costly play, Paul was asked if the same situation were to come up again, strike three on a pitch near the dirt, would he tag the batter or throw to first?

"I wouldn't do anything different," the Angels' seldom-used third-string catcher said before Game 3 Friday. "I caught the ball. It's the same thing I said after the game. I did nothing wrong."

Manager Mike Scioscia, when asked if this might not be the most prudent approach for Paul to take, defended his catcher.

"The whole point is, Josh felt very strongly that he caught the ball," Scioscia said. "It's easy to say he should have tagged [Pierzynski], but a lot of times that can create a play that's not there. He thought he caught the ball and the play was over."

Many catchers routinely tag batters after catching strike-three pitches near the dirt. Or they lift the ball and show it to the umpire.

"It's easy to look at the replay and say the ball was closer [to the dirt] than he sensed," Scioscia said. "But he thought he caught the ball."

Paul was in no mood Friday to discuss the play at length, cutting several interviews short.

"I just want to let it die, for both teams' sake, and for the umpire's sake," Paul said. "If that had happened in Game 7, we'd be talking about it all winter."

*

Bartolo Colon's already slim hopes of pitching again in the playoffs grew even more remote Friday when the Angels announced the right-hander would undergo another MRI test "at a date to be determined," in an effort to better pinpoint the cause of Colon's discomfort.

Colon was diagnosed Wednesday with a strain, or a small tear, in the back of his shoulder. If he is to have any chance of pitching in the World Series if the Angels get past the White Sox, Colon will need to begin throwing in the next couple of days, and Scioscia said "that's not in the plans right now."

Colon was left off the ALCS roster. If his prognosis improved dramatically over the next few days and it appeared he might have a shot at returning, the Angels could give him some extra time to recover by moving him to the back of their World Series rotation and starting him in Game 4 on Oct. 26.

*

White Sox General Manager Ken Williams is amused by the notoriety that surrounds his manager, Ozzie Guillen, for speaking from the heart rather than from the cliche.

"Sports have become so sanitized," Williams said. "It's a little more color than you're used to, and people are losing their minds over it.... Relax. He's not one of our politicians. He's a baseball man. Don't take him too seriously."

*

Right-hander Freddy Garcia, today's starter for the White Sox, missed Game 2 of the series to be with his wife, Glendys, who gave birth to the couple's first child Wednesday night. He rejoined the team Thursday in Anaheim.

"She was due during the game," Garcia said. "I was watching the game, waking up with her. It's pretty good. A lot of stuff for me. I've never seen that before, and that was a really good experience."

Garcia won 14 games in the regular season, three after Sept. 1. He beat Boston in the division series clincher, but threw 98 pitches in five-plus innings, and Friday suggested the wait between his last regular-season start and the division series start, seven days, was too long.

He'll pitch on eight days' rest today.

"Sometimes, that's no good for me," Garcia said.

Guillen aligned his rotation so Jose Contreras and Mark Buehrle, his best pitchers, would start on close to their regular rest. Jon Garland and Garcia would have to make do.

"Well, I don't want to throw Freddy under the bus," Guillen said, "but that's a pretty good excuse."

Times staff writer Tim Brown contributed to this report.

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