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ANGELS : With No Regular Job, Variety Is Spice of Howell’s Life

TIMES STAFF WRITER

For Jack Howell, making the most of an awkward situation means playing the most positions of anyone on the Angels.

Howell, who lost the starting third baseman’s job to Gary Gaetti, was scheduled to back up Gaetti this spring in addition to filling in at second base and in left field. Howell added catching to his resume Saturday, strapping on gear for the first time since he caught a few practices at Pima (Ariz.) Junior College.

He began his day at 8 a.m. with a quick refresher course in catching and early batting practice. He followed by participating in outfield drills and taking grounders with the infielders. After providing a target for nonroster pitchers Ed Vosberg--a childhood friend and Little League teammate--and Randy Bockus, Howell stretched his legs by running.

“I’m just glad I’m not buying him dinner tonight,” Angel Manager Doug Rader said.

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Forty minutes behind the plate whetted Howell’s appetite for catching but didn’t satisfy his hunger to be a regular third baseman.

“I still think I can do the job every day at my position, but that’s not to say I couldn’t help the team out at two or three positions,” said Howell, who played left field in 1987 and last season played one game at first, one at shortstop and 102 at third.

Angel Notes

The Angels play their annual Desert Samaritan pro-am game today. Local businessmen bid to play against the Angels, and proceeds go to the Desert Samaritan Medical Center Cancer Fund. . . . Intrasquad games are scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at Gene Autry Park. The first exhibition game will be Friday in Yuma against the Padres. . . . Infielder Chris Cron and pitcher Scott Lewis signed one-year contracts, reducing to nine the Angels’ list of unsigned players. According to Senior Vice President Dan O’Brien, agreement might be reached Monday or Tuesday with pitcher Jim Abbott.

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