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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : ANGELS : McCaskill Taken Out of the Rotation

Manager Buck Rodgers said Kirk McCaskill’s next start has been “postponed indefinitely, but not eliminated,” and his spot in the starting rotation given, at least temporarily, to left-hander Kyle Abbott.

Abbott, who graduated from Mission Viejo High and attended Cal State Long Beach, will make his major league debut Tuesday at Anaheim Stadium against the Texas Rangers. McCaskill, whose 18 defeats are one short of the club record, said while he comprehends the reasons for the move, he’s “very upset and I’m fighting tooth and nail.”

Rodgers also said Abbott, Scott Lewis and Mike Fetters would each get two consecutive starts to ease the urgency they might feel if given only one chance to impress. Rodgers, who plans to use McCaskill in relief if the right-hander needs the work, said he already knows enough to evaluate him.

“We need to find out what the other pitchers can do--if we elect to re-sign him or if we elect not to re-sign him,” Rodgers said, referring to McCaskill’s eligibility for free agency after this season.

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McCaskill (10-18), who ranks fifth in club history with 78 victories and sixth in innings pitched with 1,215, said his distress stemmed from pride rather than the fear of reducing his value on the free-agent market.

“I’m not very happy about it. I want to make it perfectly clear to everybody and anybody I in no way, shape or form want to come out of the rotation,” he said. “But I understand what they’re doing, and I would probably do the same thing if I were in their position. What bothers me is I still have a real drive to go out there and pitch. If I didn’t, I would have caved in during this season.”

Center fielder Junior Felix was a late arrival Saturday, entering the clubhouse at 4:40 p.m. Rodgers said he and Felix would talk but wouldn’t say whether Felix faces a fine. . . . In less than two weeks on the job, Rodgers has formed some definite opinions of his new team. “I like (Luis) Polonia and Felix hitting 1-2,” he said. “In fact, I like 1-2-3-4. It would be nice to see a left-hander be able to come in there behind (Dave) Winfield and before (Gary) Gaetti. I’ve been disappointed with the hitting of Winfield and (Lance) Parrish since I’ve been here. The bottom of our batting order is not generating anything to this point. Nothing. But those aren’t things you have to be a genius to see.”


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