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Angel Notebook : Mauch Says He Hasn’t Any Interest in Forster

Times Staff Writer

Pitcher Terry Forster’s availability weighed heavily on the minds of Angel management Wednesday.

General Manager Mike Port thought it might not be a bad idea to consider giving Forster at least a tryout if he clears waivers Friday. Manager Gene Mauch thought it might not be a good idea.

“If Terry Forster were in his prime, we’d be breaking down doors to get him,” Mauch said. “He pitched 10 innings this spring, gave up 7 hits and 7 walks and hasn’t struck out a batter. The people I talked to are not impressed with his velocity. When you think of Terry Forster, you think of smoke.”

Forster, 34, had a 1.69 ERA in 10 innings this spring with Atlanta. He was one of four veteran pitchers released Tuesday by the Braves.

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Port had a preliminary conversation Wednesday morning with Forster’s agent, Mark Polan. According to Port, he will “try to maintain a line of communication” with Polan.

Forster, who pitched five years for the Dodgers, had his best Dodger season in 1978, when he was 5-4 with a 1.94 ERA and 22 saves. He spent the last three seasons with Atlanta. He was 3-2 with a 2.16 ERA and 13 saves in 1983 but was plagued by injuries the past two seasons.

“Realizing he’s in a far different state of condition than last year, we have to question whether he still has the velocity and agility,” Port said, referring to the 30 pounds Forster lost during the off-season. “Has the change in condition added or subtracted from his capability? Some people are better off being heavy. Can this change deprive one of being strong?”

Since left-hander Gary Lucas is on the 15-day disabled list with a troublesome disk in his back, the Angels are weak in left-handed relief pitching. In fact, they have no one.

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Last season, Pat Clements was the Angels’ only left-handed reliever at the outset and Al Holland the only one at the finish. There were times when they got by without a left-handed reliever.

“We’re kind of scrambling for a left-handed reliever now,” Mauch said, then added a note of caution: “I don’t want to sign a guy just because he’s left-handed. Just because he’s left-handed wouldn’t give him any assurances.”

Angel Notes

Five players were optioned to Edmonton Wednesday--pitcher D.W. Smith, infielders Craig Gerber and Jack Howell and outfielders Rufino Linares and Devon White. Non-roster catcher Steve Riddle was also returned to the minor league camp in Mesa, Ariz. . . . Outfielder Bobby Clark has been signed to a minor league contract. Clark, who played for the Angels from 1979 to 1983, was released by San Diego after a tryout this spring. . . . Mike Witt had a tough outing Wednesday night as the Angels were defeated by San Diego, 6-5. Witt allowed 6 runs on 11 hits through 5 innings. The Angels trailed, 6-0, after five innings, then scored one run in the sixth and four in the seventh. Brian Downing capped the seventh-inning rally with a two-run homer deep into the left-field stands. . . . Doug DeCinces was a late scratch from Wednesday’s game because of a slightly pulled groin muscle. . . . Gary Lucas will have his back examined in Los Angeles today by Dr. Robert Watkins. Lucas said there has “been improvement” in his condition the past two days because of stretching exercises and therapy. . . . Don Sutton celebrated his 41st birthday Wednesday. Gary Pettis will turn 28 today. . . . The Angels announced that 9,000 general admission seats for Sunday’s exhibition against the Dodgers will go on sale today on a reserved-seat basis.

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