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Steve Rogers Signs; Angels Assign Him to Edmonton for Time Being

Times Staff Writer

Steve Rogers, a winner of 158 games in 12 seasons with Montreal, is returning to the minor leagues for the first time since 1973. The 35-year-old right-hander agreed to a contract with the Angels’ Edmonton farm club Monday.

He and the Angels are hopeful it is a temporary assignment, a steppingstone back to a starting job with the Angels, for whom he auditioned seven days ago in New York.

The Expos had released Rogers two weeks earlier. He was 2-4 with a 5.68 earned-run average after having finished 1984 with a 6-15 records and a 4.31 earned run average.

Of that audition, Manager Gene Mauch, who was Rogers’ first manager at Montreal, said Monday:

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“He was so rusty that I couldn’t afford to let him pitch for us. Steve has to be sharp. He has to have the control of a Ken Forsch or Geoff Zahn. I saw enough to believe that if he can rebuild his confidence and control, he can still get big league hitters out. The only thing I’m concerned about is his impatience.”

Rogers will join the Pacific Coast League team in Vancouver Thursday and is tentatively scheduled to make five starts before the Angels determine his status about July 1. He was signed for about $30,000, the prorated remainder of the $40,000 minimum salary. The remainder of his 1985 salary of $900,000 must be paid by the Expos.

Dick Moss, Rogers’ attorney, said his client had had several other offers but wanted to renew his relationship with Mauch.

“Steve’s conversations with Gene Mauch convinced him the Angels wanted him, needed him and cared for him,” Moss said. “He’s willing to stay at Edmonton for as long as it takes.”

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Said General Manager Mike Port: “Steve recognizes that this is a chance to regroup and get started without the pressure he’d face stepping in here. He knows we don’t want him to pitch in Edmonton, that we want him here. He’s honest enough about himself to have told us in New York that he appreciates the opportunity but knows he has to prove to us he can still pitch.”

Port said he remains in conversation with three other teams about possible pitching help. Two are known to be Cleveland, for Bert Blyleven, and Pittsburgh, for John Candelaria. The third is thought to be Toronto, for Luis Leal.

Pitcher Ken Forsch, who has been on the Angels’ disabled list since the start of the season, will have arthroscopic surgery Wednesday in an attempt to grind down a bone spur in his right elbow. A plan to scope the lingering tendinitis in Geoff Zahn’s left shoulder has been shelved. Zahn, on the disabled list since April 30, will begin a therapy program instead.


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