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ANGELS FYI

All-Star experience 'sours' Angels' Brian Fuentes

He says he was promised he would pitch the sixth inning, until he was bumped by the commissioner.

July 17, 2009|Bill Shaikin

OAKLAND — On Monday, Brian Fuentes said he was told he would pitch the sixth inning of the All-Star game. On Tuesday, he was told he would not, which Fuentes blamed on the commissioner's office.

"That bumped me from my inning," Fuentes said. "It's kind of crazy they would have their hand in making up the lineup."

Fuentes, the Angels' closer, did not pitch in the game. He said he was told in an American League team meeting Monday that he would pitch the sixth inning, and he shared that news with family, friends and Angels officials in St. Louis.

On Tuesday, two hours before game time, Fuentes said AL pitching coach Jim Hickey told him that there had been a "misunderstanding" and that AL Manager Joe Maddon had not been aware that the commissioner's office wanted the starting pitchers to work two innings.

That left one fewer inning for the relievers and that left Fuentes out.

"That soured me a little bit," Fuentes said.

"To think that someone in MLB would dictate who pitches when and where, that is not the way the game is supposed to be played."

Maddon did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Fuentes said he was not upset at Maddon and said he had a good experience otherwise, including the opportunity to meet President Obama.

"He's as charismatic as he is on TV," Fuentes said.

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Figgins thrilled

Chone Figgins proudly unpacked his All-Star jersey, the one he did not wear during Monday's workouts since he was not an All-Star then.

The Angels' leadoff batter got the call to replace the injured Evan Longoria at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

He scrambled to catch a noon flight, landed two hours before game time and got a personal escort to the ballpark from the St. Louis chief of police.

He did not get a chance to meet Obama, as security detained Figgins outside the clubhouse because the president already was inside.

He did not get into the game either. Maddon apologized to him afterward, but Figgins said no apology was necessary.

"I wasn't bothered at all. I honestly wasn't," Figgins said. "Back in the day when guys played eight innings, a lot of guys didn't get in. For me to complain is not right."

The greatest thrill, he said, was simply standing along the foul line as he was introduced as an All-Star.

"My mom and dad got to see me stand on the line," he said. "That was the greatest feeling ever."

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Short hops

The Angels are searching for a veteran reliever but did not express interest in Matt Herges, according to his agent. Herges, 39, signed with the Colorado Rockies on Thursday. . . . Outfielder Juan Rivera, who did not start the final two games before the All-Star break because of a sore hamstring and quadriceps, served as designated hitter Thursday. Manager Mike Scioscia said Rivera should return to the outfield this weekend. . . . Angels minor leaguer Renedin Mesa, 17, has been suspended 50 games after testing positive for the steroid boldenone. Mesa pitches for the Angels' Dominican Summer League team. . . . Mike Piazza was the losing pitcher Wednesday for the Angels' rookie league team in Orem, Utah. He's the second cousin of the former Dodgers catcher.

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bill.shaikin@latimes.com

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ANGELS TONIGHT

AT OAKLAND

When: 7.

Where: Oakland Coliseum.

On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 830, 1330.

Pitchers: Joe Saunders vs. Trevor Cahill.

Update: In his first seven starts this season, Saunders was 5-1 with a 2.66 ERA, including two victories over Oakland in which he gave up two runs in 13 1/3 innings. However, in his last 10 starts, Saunders is 3-4 with a 6.09 ERA. He has given up 21 home runs, the most of any American League pitcher. In Cahill's last three starts, he has given up 19 runs -- including seven home runs -- in 12 2/3 innings.

-- Bill Shaikin

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