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ANGELS FYI

For Tim Salmon, Manny Ramirez's positive test makes sense of the past

The former outfielder says he now is sure he was competing against players who cheated.

May 09, 2009|Ben Bolch

Now it makes sense.

The revelation that Manny Ramirez tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug provided Tim Salmon with additional evidence that the former Angels outfielder was among those cheated out of a more productive career because he was competing against players who turned to illegal substances.

"For me, as I broke down and my play became less at the level that I expected, I always was thinking it was because I was getting older and things like that," Salmon said Friday at Angel Stadium. "I'm facing guys that I used to be able to hit and all of a sudden I can't hit them anymore and I'm going, 'What?'

"I always took that personally, like, man, I'm losing it. Now I can look back and say, 'OK, maybe it wasn't so much me.' . . . Maybe I can look back on that and say, 'It wasn't because of my talent, because I was doing all the right things.' "

Salmon said he wasn't shocked by the Ramirez news because it came on the heels of New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez admitting he had a positive drug test in 2003. But the former Angels star said he had been under the impression that drug usage had diminished because of Major League Baseball's rigorous testing program.

"But then you see something like [Ramirez getting caught] and go, 'I don't know. Is it?' " Salmon said.

"He said he was tested 15 times and came out negative and that raises the question, OK, well, he was obviously doing something. How was he not getting caught? It's just more shocking that it could happen with the recent testing."

No personal catcher

Even though Jered Weaver's earned-run average is significantly lower this season with Jeff Mathis behind the plate instead of Mike Napoli, the right-hander said he does not have a preferred catcher.

"It used to be that Napoli and me were on the same page," Weaver said, "and now that Jeff's had a chance to catch me a little bit more, we've become pretty good at knowing what each other wants to do out there."

Mathis has caught five of Weaver's six starts, including Thursday's complete-game victory over Toronto. Weaver has a 2.41 ERA in 33 2/3 innings with Mathis behind the plate and a 3.86 ERA in seven innings with Napoli behind the plate.

"It just so happens Matty and me are on the same page lately, and it would be nice to keep it rolling," Weaver said.

"But I have confidence in both of them to do the same job."

Short hops

Manager Mike Scioscia said Vladimir Guerrero, recovering from a torn chest muscle, could resume batting practice by the end of this homestand, with Guerrero returning to the Angels' lineup as the designated hitter as soon as 10 days after that. Scioscia said that Guerrero could resume playing right field this season but that it's "going to take some time." . . . Scioscia said pitchers Ervin Santana and John Lackey, who are scheduled to make rehabilitation starts this weekend, could rejoin the Angels' rotation by their next starts five days later, depending on how they fare. . . . A group of Angels wives will be participating in a Mothers Against Drunk Driving walk this morning at 8:30 at Beach Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach. The wives are wearing T-shirts in honor of Nick Adenhart, the Angels pitcher killed last month by an allegedly drunk driver.

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ben.bolch@latimes.com

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