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FREEWAY SERIES NOTES

Gonzalez must have felt like a character in `Lost'

March 30, 2007|Steve Springer and Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writers

With all the new faces on the Dodgers, some fans might need a program to identify them.

At least one of those new Dodgers needed a map.

Outfielder Luis Gonzalez, signed as a free agent in the off-season, was shaking his head as he stood as his locker stall Thursday evening after his drive to Dodger Stadium.

"I don't know how many interstates I was on," he said. "I'm glad I have a navigation system."

Interstates? Where had Gonzalez come from?

"Manhattan Beach."

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Brady Clark, obtained in a trade Monday with the Milwaukee Brewers, was also shaking his head as he stood at his locker, looking a bit lost.

"It still hasn't set in," he said. "I keep looking at my blue shoes. I think about the history this club has and now I'm a part of it. I'm putting on Dodger blue and I'm still in awe of the whole situation.

"I can relate it to the first day of first grade. You don't know what expect."

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The Angels, borrowing a page from the Thurman Thomas and Jerry Rice NFL playbook, will sign former closer Troy Percival to a minor league contract Monday. Percival will then retire and throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Monday's season opener.

"I'm honored to retire as an Angel," Percival said.

Percival saved 316 regular-season games for the Angels, plus Game 7 of the 2002 World Series, then signed a two-year contract with the Detroit Tigers after the 2004 season.

The Angels will honor another World Series hero, Tim Salmon, before Tuesday's game. The Angels have considered retiring the uniform numbers of Salmon and Percival but have no plans to do so next week.

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Dodgers Manager Grady Little said shortstop Rafael Furcal, out with a sprained ankle, "could be questionable for opening day but should be ready shortly after that." ... The Dodgers decided the designated hitter would be used at Dodger Stadium so Olmedo Saenz could get some at-bats.... Kelvim Escobar pitched 5 2/3 innings in a minor league scrimmage in Arizona, consistently throwing 94 mph and showing no sign of the back cramps that forced him from his previous start.... The Angels sent infielder Erick Aybar for X-rays of his left foot, sprained while sliding into second base Wednesday. The X-rays did not show a fracture, but the foot was placed in a walking boot as a precautionary measure. Aybar said he expected to be ready for opening day. ... In split-squad games Thursday, the Angels lost to Milwaukee, 4-2, in Phoenix and the Dodgers lost to the Mets, 13-2, in Vero Beach, Fla. Matt Kemp homered for the Dodgers, and David Newhan went four for four with two home runs for the Mets.

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