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Yankees, Angels face new threat: freezing rain

Weather forecast has an 80% chance of rain and temperatures in the 40s for Game 1. Postponement is looming.

October 16, 2009|Kevin Baxter and Mike DiGiovanna

NEW YORK — Rain kept both the Yankees and Angels from working out on the field at Yankee Stadium on Thursday. And with the National Weather Service calling for at least a 70% chance of rain through Sunday, weather could wreak havoc with the American League Championship Series, which is scheduled to begin tonight.

The forecast for the first pitch lists an 80% chance of rain with temperatures in the low 40s and a wind chill below freezing. The forecast looks just as bleak for Game 2.

And that has Major League Baseball officials keeping their fingers crossed and their mouths shut.

"We don't have anything to say right now," said Phyllis Merhige, baseball's senior vice-president for club relations. "We're going to play two games before we go to Anaheim."

If either of the first two games is postponed, the commissioner's office has few good choices in terms of rescheduling. Sunday, currently listed as a travel day, is one option. But the ALCS is being televised on Fox, which is already committed to broadcast a full slate of NFL games.

And if a game is played Sunday, travel considerations would likely force Monday's Game 3 in Anaheim to be moved from its scheduled afternoon start, either to Monday night, where it would compete with TBS' broadcast of the National League Championship Series, or to Tuesday.

The Yankees and Angels would then lose their scheduled off-day Wednesday and play three games in as many days before flying back to New York City next Friday should Games 6 and 7 be necessary.

Rain is also forecast for next weekend in New York.

"I don't know if there is an ideal schedule," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. "There's a lot of time in between some games that, I think historically, has not been there. So the best schedule is to keep it rolling and once you start playing, to keep playing. We'll see what we're confronted with."

The players, meanwhile, are mixed about what impact the weather might have.

"It changes nothing," the Angels' Vladimir Guerrero said through an interpreter. "We've played in this weather before. I'm going to swing like I always do and not let the climate dictate what we do."

But teammate Torii Hunter said the cold would hamper hitters.

"The pitchers have the advantage," he said. "You don't want to hit a ball off the handle. Your muscles can stiffen. You've got to stay loose."

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kevin.baxter@latimes.com

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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