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Hunter trying to sell Teixeira

August 07, 2008|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

In this election season, Torii Hunter has appointed himself campaign manager. He said he already has launched the "Mark Teixeira in '08 and beyond" campaign, hoping to persuade the slugger to sign a long-term contract with the Angels rather than defect to another team in free agency.

Hunter said he plans to treat Teixeira to fine dining in Orange County and Los Angeles, showing off the region's top restaurants and wonderful weather.

"You can get a tan," Hunter said. "You can tan naked if you want to."

He declined to name the restaurants he had picked for Teixeira.

"I don't want the paparazzi there," Hunter said.

Hunter called the Angels' organization under owner Arte Moreno "unbelievable" and said his campaign services come at no charge to the club.

"I don't want a commission," Hunter said. "Arte's done enough. This is for free. I would pay for dinner too."

Ten years?

Moreno signed Hunter for five years and $90 million. Teixeira figures to cost more, but the first baseman said he has not discussed his asking price publicly and dismissed any such talk as "speculation." The contract won't matter, he said, until he is comfortable that a team is committed to winning and his family is comfortable with the area.

"The economics takes care of itself," he said.

Yet, during last Saturday's broadcast of the Angels' game against the New York Yankees, Fox's Ken Rosenthal reported that Teixeira had told him he would like a 10-year contract.

"He asked me a question," Teixeira said. "I said, 'Sure.' I said it with a smile. If someone gives me a 30-year contract to play until my 50s, sure, why not?"

Teixeira said he enjoyed playing in the inaugural World Baseball Classic but, with a nod toward free agency, probably would not represent the United States again next spring. "It would be my first spring training with a new team," he said. "To leave for two or three weeks would not be in my best interest."

For now, Teixeira said, he'll focus on winning the World Series with the Angels, and on finding a home in Orange County for his family.

"I'm renting for three months," he said. "I told them I wanted to rent through the end of October."

Napoli back

The Angels plan to activate catcher Mike Napoli on Friday, Manager Mike Scioscia said. Napoli, on the disabled list since July 7 because of a sore shoulder, was scheduled to complete a minor league rehabilitation assignment at Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Wednesday night.

In his absence, Jeff Mathis started 25 of 26 games. Mathis hit .207 in that span, with his season average falling from .220 to .210. His home run Wednesday ended an 0-for-16 skid.

Short hops

Infielder Maicer Izturis sat out his fifth consecutive game because of a sprained thumb, but Scioscia said he was available if needed. . . . Baltimore outfielder Luis Montanez became the second Orioles player to hit a home run in his first major league at-bat, the first since Les "Buster" Narum in 1963. Narum, a pitcher, finished his career with a 14-27 record, three homers and a batting average of .059.


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