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Tejada Remains Topic of Interest

ANGELS REPORT

September 05, 2006|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

If the Angels had their way, Miguel Tejada would have played third base for them on Monday, not shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles. But, as the teams engaged in trade talks in July, Tejada said he had no interest in playing third base.

As the Angels and Orioles met for the first time since those talks collapsed, Tejada explained his reluctance to play third by saying he didn't want to embarrass himself or the Angels by learning a new position in a pennant race.

"They're fighting to try to go to the playoffs," he said, "and I don't know if I can help at a position I haven't played."

The Angels never did get that big bat, and so they figure to revive trade talks for Tejada this winter. They could give Tejada all spring to adjust to third base.

"I know that, but I can still play good shortstop," he said. "I'm a shortstop, man. I don't think I have to play third base yet. Maybe later on."

The Orioles are on the verge of their ninth consecutive losing season, in a division that includes the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, but Tejada said he did not necessarily believe he would be more likely to win in Anaheim.

"I think you can win anywhere," he said. "I like to win. I like to play for something. You never know where they are going to win. Look at the Tigers."

The Angels could trade for Tejada and tell him they don't care whether he wants to play third base, but Tejada could play a trump card. As a player traded during a multiyear contract, he would have the right to demand a trade from the Angels after the 2007 season. His contract covers three more years, at $12 million next year and $13 million in each of the following two years.

Tejada grew up idolizing fellow Dominican shortstop Alfredo Griffin, and he used to wear No. 4 in his honor. Griffin, now an Angels coach, said he would happily surrender his number to Tejada should the Angels acquire him.

"He wouldn't have to ask me," Griffin said. "He's the man."

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After reviewing the Angels' September schedule, Manager Mike Scioscia said he likes the projected pitching matchups and has no plans to juggle the starting rotation, barring injury or ineffectiveness. If the rotation holds, the Angels would send Jered Weaver, John Lackey and Ervin Santana against the first-place Oakland Athletics Sept. 22-24.... The Angels promoted shortstop Sean Rodriguez to triple-A Salt Lake, which opens the Pacific Coast League playoffs Wednesday. Rodriguez, 21, hit .306 with 29 home runs for double-A Arkansas and Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.

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bill.shaikin@latimes.com

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