Wade Boggs, the man they would ban from Boston, continues to have his name bandied about by Red Sox General Manager Lou Gorman, so it was only a matter of time before the phones in the Angel offices started ringing.
According to Angel Manager Doug Rader, Gorman and Angel Vice President Mike Port discussed a trade involving Boston’s five-time American League batting champion this weekend, but only until Gorman began naming names.
Gorman reportedly asked for third baseman Jack Howell, left-handed pitcher Chuck Finley and two other players who figure to make the Angels’ 24-man roster.
“I think it’s dead,” Rader said. “What (the Red Sox) were asking for was so unreasonable, so disproportionate that it just didn’t make sense. I don’t think it’d be smart to decimate the whole ballclub for him.”
Boston management has grown weary of the publicity surrounding the ongoing Boggs-Margo Adams saga, especially after Boggs agreed to Friday night’s interview with Barbara Walters against the club’s wishes. Owner Haywood Sullivan has instructed Gorman to attempt to make a trade.
So far, most of Gorman’s proposals have included a third baseman and a left-handed pitcher in return for Boggs. With the free-agent departure of Bruce Hurst, Boston has no left-handed starting pitcher in its rotation and lacks a bona fide replacement for Boggs in its farm system.
Thus, Gorman has talked to:
--The New York Mets about Howard Johnson and Sid Fernandez.
--The New York Yankees about Mike Pagliarulo and Dave Righetti.
--The Kansas City Royals about Kevin Seitzer and Charlie Leibrandt.
--The Seattle Mariners about Jim Presley and Mark Langston.
And, now, the Angels, apparently about Howell and Finley and assorted others.
Port declined to mention specific names, saying only that “We have as much going on with Boston right now as we have with the Mets, Cleveland, Seattle, Kansas City, the Yankees and the Chicago White Sox. Those are all teams I’ve spoken to in the last couple days.”
Both Rader and Port wanted to emphasize that the Angels did not initiate talks with the Red Sox.
“Mike wasn’t openly soliciting the offer,” Rader said. “I want to make that clear, because that would indicate that we’re not happy with Jack. And that’s not the case.
“It was just one of those things that come up. There was an offer made, a counteroffer and then we decided to back off.”
Not that he was being showcased or anything, but Finley was the Angels’ starting pitcher Sunday afternoon. He completed six shaky innings, allowing three runs on five hits and four walks, but the Angels were in position to win with two outs in the top of the ninth.
They led the San Diego Padres, 5-4, with runners on second and third and batter Bip Roberts facing a 1-and-2 count. But on Angel reliever Vance Lovelace’s next pitch, Roberts bopped a grounder through the middle of the infield, driving in two runs that gave San Diego a 6-5 victory.
Lovelace, on the fringes of contention for a bullpen berth, allowed three runs and four hits in his one inning, but Rader insisted the rookie left-hander hadn’t completely ruined his chances.
“He gave up three runs, but they were all scored on cheap hits,” Rader said. “And he walked a guy on four pitches that just as easily could’ve been strikes. He demonstrated good location and velocity.
“I know the three runs do look bad on paper, but from our vantage point, Vance didn’t look bad at all.”
The runs were the first Lovelace had allowed in four exhibition outings. Of course, he had pitched a total of only four innings before Sunday. Lovelace’s left-handed competition is Bob McClure, who has an earned-run average of 0.96.
Before Roberts’ game-winning single, Angel starter-turned-reliever Willie Fraser was a pitch away from boosting his record to 4-0. Fraser had worked two innings of scoreless relief in support of Finley and was the pitcher of record until the ninth inning.
He is still 3-0, which isn’t bad for a pitcher who hadn’t demonstrated much more than an effective fastball until Sunday.
“I was encouraged by Willie today,” Rader said. “He’s been a one-pitch pitcher all spring, and it’s hard to get by on one pitch. He lost his forkball and his slider and was just fastball-fastball-fastball.
“But he had three good pitches today, and I was so glad to see them again. The forkball hadn’t been around for quite a while. It’s been a little inconsistent for quite some time. With it, Willie can be an outstanding pitcher.”
Johnny Ray and Mark McLemore split time at second base Sunday, both raising their batting averages in their bid for the starting assignment. Ray went two for three with a triple and a single to improve his average to .452 (14 for 31). McLemore replaced him and went one for-two with a double, bringing his average to .364 (16 for 44). McLemore has 10 hits in his last 19 at-bats. “It’s wonderful to see guys compete,” Manager Doug Rader said. “Both men are doing a heroic job of it.”
Angel bullpen coach Joe Coleman hobbled off into the trainer’s room after taking a line drive off his shin during batting practice. “And now he has a staph infection,” Rader said. “How can you get a staph infection by getting hit by a ball?” Rader should have been around in 1986, when the same thing happened to Wally Joyner. Only then, the infection went undetected for two months and ultimately Joyner was admitted to a hospital, sidelining him for the final four games of that fateful playoff against Boston. Coleman’s condition, to his good fortune, was diagnosed a little sooner.