Candelaria’s Arm: Mystery Wrapped in a Puzzle

Times Staff Writer

If you’re wondering about the extent of the injuries to pitcher John Candelaria’s left elbow and what the Angels plan to do about it, you aren’t the only one.

It was a subject that both Candelaria and Manager Gene Mauch addressed before and after Monday’s home opener and the reason for a press release issued by General Manager Mike Port.

Yet, it still is something of a mystery.

A horde of reporters were huddled around Candelaria’s locker before the game, watching the big left-hander go from the sanctuary of the training room to the sanctuary of the clubhouse telephone to the sanctuary of the players’ lounge.


When he finally headed for his locker, teammate Brian Downing announced: “This press conference will come to order at 1:15.”

Candelaria didn’t smile. “Yeah,” he mumbled, “and it’ll be over at 1:16.”

One sixteen and 30 seconds, to be exact. Here’s how it went:

What did Dr. Lewis Yocum say, John?


“You’ll have to ask Dr. Yocum.”

Did he find any damage beyond the crack in the calcification reported on Friday?

“I know what the problem is, but you guys will have to go with the (press) release.”

We haven’t seen any release. Could you give us your reaction to it. . . . whatever it says?


“You’ll have to find Gene (Mauch) or Mike (Port) and pin them down because Candelaria doesn’t have anything more to say. I’m just following orders.”

OK, on to the manager.

Say, Gene, what’s the news on Candelaria’s arm?

“Mike (Port) will have something for you later,” Mauch said.


The Angels had distributed a lengthy memo entitled “Baseball’s Procedures for Club/Media Relations” Monday, which includes a paragraph stating that “Explanations of injuries should be made as soon as possible.”

Of course, nowhere in the directive does it say that the explanation has to be understandable.

Port’s release arrived about midway through the Angels’ 7-6 win over Seattle.

It read:


“The following announcement has been made by California Angels General Manager Mike Port regarding pitcher John Candelaria’s current status:

“Dr. Lewis Yocum reported to the club today that further evaluation of the tests conducted Friday on John Candelaria’s left elbow have confirmed that preliminary readings were accurate.

“Dr. Yocum concurred that Candelaria has sustained a crack in the area of calcification or spurring in the posterior aspect of the left elbow. However, any tearing of tendons in the area was not evident under further evaluation.

“Treatment methods are being evaluated and the club plans a further announcement tomorrow regarding the definitive course of treatment and Candelaria’s disabled list status.”


Later in his private box, Port was asked to elaborate, or at least explain why an announcement was released though Candelaria’s status had not changed.

“It’s all right here,” Port said, pointing to the release.

Apparently, three courses of treatment are available. The arm could be put in a cast and immobilized for an indefinite period. Or he could undergo painkiller injections, which may or may not allow him to continue pitching. Or--the option that seems most likely--he could undergo surgery to remove the calcification or spur.

Speculation, confirmed by one Angel player, is that Candelaria will undergo surgery Wednesday and will be lost for up to eight weeks, leaving Mauch without a left-hander.


Mauch was asked if the Angels would be more likely to give former Atlanta Brave reliever Terry Forster a tryout.

“The sensibility of it has increased,” he said. “At this point, why not give him a look?”

The Angels reportedly are interested in trading for Tigers’ left-hander Bill Scherrer, but Mauch said there was no sense discussing the possibilities.

“There’s no use talking about how many different options were discussed because we’ll let you know tomorrow (Tuesday) which one we’ve decided on,” Mauch said.