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Angel Notebook : With Concepcion’s Release, Hoffman Finds Job Near Home

Times Staff Writer

The last time Glenn Hoffman played in the major leagues was 1987, and he was wearing a Dodger uniform. The Dodgers released him that year and he spent the 1988 season in Pawtucket, the triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.

Hoffman hit .240 with three home runs and 33 runs batted in at Pawtucket, then was released again. At 30, the outlook for his professional baseball career wasn’t exactly bullish.

His stock is definitely on the rise these days, however.

On Tuesday, the Angels announced that they had released 40-year-old Davey Concepcion from his minor league contract. Although no one will say that Hoffman has been assured a spot on the 24-player roster as the utility infielder, Manager Doug Rader did admit that “it certainly does look good for the lad.”

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So it appears that Hoffman, who lives in Orange, will return home as a big leaguer after having to call the Angels and ask for an invitation to spring training.

“Hoffman has been doing an excellent job,” Rader said. “I believe he should make this club. He certainly has earned a spot on this ballclub.”

Hoffman is hitting .393 and has three RBIs. He has made just one error in 16 games. Concepcion, a veteran of 19 major league seasons, was hitting .125, with no RBIs and two errors in 13 games.

“I’ve been on the other side of spring training, when you’re a regular and just getting ready for the season,” said Hoffman, who was the starting shortstop for the Red Sox in the mid-'80s. “This has been a whole different kind of spring. When you come in as a non-roster player, you have to go out there and try to win a job every day.

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“I had to show what I can do. I came in as a very long shot, but I guess it looks a lot better for me now.”

Hoffman’s performance was good enough to convince even Concepcion, who Tuesday asked Angel management to release him if he wasn’t going to make the team.

“Davey saw how Hoffman was playing and evidently he was aware of some inquiries from other clubs,” Rader said. “He’s a good man. I hope he can hook on somewhere.”

Hoffman, of course, is happy to be hooking on with any major league club, especially one that plays its home games a few minutes down the freeway from his house.

The Angel brass still has a few decisions to make and there are some options, but it appears the roster will break down like this:

--Pitchers: Jim Abbott, Bert Blyleven, Chuck Finley, Willie Fraser, Bryan Harvey, Vance Lovelace, Kirk McCaskill, Bob McClure, Greg Minton, Dan Petry and Mike Witt. Either Abbott or Lovelace or both will make the team (if the Angels decide to go with an 11-man staff).

--Position players: Tony Armas, Dante Bichette, Chili Davis, Brian Downing, Jim Eppard, Glenn Hoffman, Jack Howell, Wally Joyner, Mark McLemore, Lance Parrish, Johnny Ray, Dick Schofield, Bill Schroeder, Claudell Washington and Devon White. Bichette and McLemore appear to be on the bubble. If the Angels keep 11 pitchers, both could start the season in the minors. Eppard and Armas seem to be on a somewhat sturdier bubble.

A batting order of Brian Downing, Johnny Ray, Devon White, Wally Joyner, Chili Davis, Lance Parrish, Claudell Washington, Jack Howell and Dick Schofield should produce some runs this season, but it’s beginning to look as if the Angels might lose more than a few of those 9-8-type decisions.

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On Tuesday, they lost to the San Diego Padres, 9-1, in front of 4,169 at Angels Stadium. Starter McCaskill yielded eight runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Lovelace did not do much to help his cause, either. He replaced McCaskill with two on and two out in the sixth, walked John Kruk and gave up a two-run double to Tony Gwynn.

Darrell Miller, who was placed on waivers Monday, has mixed emotions about his parting with the Angels.

“I’m very happy about the way things have gone,” Miller said from his home in Yorba Linda, “but they didn’t do me any favors with the timing. They waited until most of the (major league) rosters were set.”

If the Angels had released Miller today, they would have had to pay him his full $157,000 salary. As it is, they only have to come up with one-sixth of that figure ($26,167).

Miller, who will clear waivers at noon on Thursday, said he asked the Angels twice this spring to either try and to trade him or release him if he was not in their plans.

“I went to them once early during the trip to Yuma (March 3-5) and again about three days after we got to Palm Springs,” he said. “I asked for a chance to play, to show someone I can play, so they could trade me. They said, ‘We know what you can do. That’s why we’re not playing you.’ ”

Miller said that he was encouraged by the interest shown by other teams, but said he could not get be specific until he passes waivers.

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Angel Notes

Donald Fehr, executive director of the Major League Players Assn., spoke to both the Angels and Padres for almost three hours Tuesday morning. He said the meeting was held to update the players on contract negotiations and the possibility of a lockout by the owners. . . . The scheduled pitching matchups for the Freeway Series, which begins Thursday at Dodger Stadium: The Angels’ Mike Witt vs. the Dodgers’ Orel Hershiser and Tim Belcher Thursday; Chuck Finley vs. Tim Leary Friday night, and Bert Blyleven vs. undecided Saturday night.


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