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Angels' Brian Fuentes wants to be part of a dog pile

The closer has never been on the bottom of a pile during his major league career and hopes to experience it this season.

September 26, 2009|Bill Shaikin

The Angels should clinch the American League West any day now, perhaps with Brian Fuentes on the mound -- and then at the bottom of a dog pile -- for the first time in his major league career.

"That's always a fascination for a lot of pitchers," Fuentes said. "To have the opportunity to do that would be great."

He vividly recalled the last out of last year's World Series, with Brad Lidge of the Philadelphia Phillies on the mound.

"He makes the pitch, falls to his knees, points to the sky," Fuentes said, "and the dog pile proceeds."

Fuentes, who leads the major leagues in saves, is a four-time All-Star. But, in the seven years he played with the Colorado Rockies before joining the Angels this year, the Rockies made the playoffs only once.

That was in 2007, when Manny Corpas had replaced an inconsistent Fuentes. Corpas was the closer at the bottom of the dog pile when the Rockies clinched a playoff spot, won the division series and then advanced to the World Series.

"I enjoyed the experience I had in Colorado," Fuentes said. "It wasn't the ninth inning, but it was still pretty neat. We celebrated three times, and all three times were pretty special."

Burning romance

The Angels had played 50 games in 52 days, so every player was looking forward to Thursday's off day. But no player was awaiting the off day as anxiously as infielder Brandon Wood, who proposed to his girlfriend of three years.

"I felt like the weight of the world was off my shoulders," Wood said.

The soon-to-be Mrs. Lindsay Wood said yes.

The couple might have a spirited debate over who has the cooler job. She works for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection -- and, yes, she fights fires.

"Once we tie the knot, I don't want to see her in any burning buildings," Wood said.

Reckling hurt

Trevor Reckling, the Angels' top pitching prospect, injured a muscle in his side on Thursday, while pitching for Team USA in the World Cup.

Such an injury can require weeks of recovery, but the Angels had planned to shut down Reckling after that start anyway.

General Manager Tony Reagins called the injury "a non-issue" and said Reckling would be ready for spring training.

The 20-year-old left-hander was 8-7 with a 2.93 earned-run average at double-A Arkansas.

Short hops

Jeff Mathis started at catcher for the fourth time in five games. Mike Napoli is considered the better hitter and Mathis the better defender, but Napoli has five hits in his last 50 at-bats. Napoli joined September callups Bobby Wilson and Ryan Budde in a pregame defensive workout. . . . Outfielder Mike Trout, a first-round draft choice in June, was selected by Baseball America as the top prospect in the Arizona rookie league. The Angels had three other prospects ranked in the top 10: outfielder Randal Grichuk, also drafted in the first round in June, and right-handers Jon Bachanov and Fabio Martinez. . . . The Angels passed 3 million in attendance for the seventh consecutive season.


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