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Angel Proposal to Joyner Has Short Fuse : Baseball: First baseman has until 4 p.m. today to accept offer or it will be withdrawn.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Wally Joyner and his family are scheduled to return from a vacation in Hawaii this morning. By late afternoon--6 p.m., Whitey Herzog time in St. Louis--free agent Joyner may have to say aloha to the Angels.

Herzog, the Angels’ senior vice president, faxed what club President Richard Brown called a reconfirmation of the club’s offer to attorney Barry Axelrod Thursday with a note that first baseman Joyner has until 4 p.m., PST to complete a deal, or the proposal will be taken off the table and the club will assume that Joyner does not want to play for the Angels.

Herzog, who returned to his St. Louis home Thursday, could not be reached for comment, though he had been accessible to ESPN for several days while filming a fishing show in Arkansas.

Citing the possibility of a trade at the winter baseball meetings that open in Miami this weekend, Brown said it is “absolutely critical we know who is on first before we go to Florida.”

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If Joyner is not on first, it is assumed that Lee Stevens will be. But if Joyner returns, prospect Stevens might be packaged in a trade.

Also, Brown said, the contract talks with Joyner have been 97% complete for almost two weeks, and “it is time to get off center and get it done. We can’t go to the meetings without a strategy.”

Brown added that if the deadline passes without a deal, the Angels might retain interest in Joyner and a willingness to talk, though without a proposal on the table.

“There would also be a possibility (in that case) that we might take certain actions (such as trades or an expensive signing) that would complicate Wally Joyner returning to the team,” Brown said.

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The Angels are believed to have offered Joyner a four-year contract for about $16 million. Axelrod, Joyner’s agent who has given up on a bid for a fifth year, said there was no significant disparity in dollars or the length of contract. He said the deal was 95% done and that the remaining differences were minor.

“It can be resolved today, but I need to have a serious talk with Wally, and I need to do that with Wally in town and not on an airport phone,” Axelrod said, adding that he understood the Angels’ desire to resolve the situation before the meetings, but that he is “not thrilled” by the deadline.

“We sat there patiently while they played out the negotiations with Bobby Bonilla,” he said. “We went quite awhile without hearing from them. Then, when we do, it comes with a two-day trigger.”

Axelrod also said Joyner was confident he can move to another team if need be.

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“It would be folly to let the deadline go by if he didn’t have options,” Axelrod said, refusing to identify those options.

Pitcher Chuck Finley will have surgery in Houston today to correct a minor problem in his left big toe, his agent, Alan Hendricks, said.

Finley, who was 18-9 this season and is eligible for free agency after the 1992 season, has been mentioned in several trade rumors, including a New York Times report that the Yankees are weighing a deal that would send infielder Steve Sax, outfielder Jesse Barfield and a prospect to the Angels.

However, Herzog has begun talks on a multiyear contract with Finley and is expected to stop in Houston on his way to Miami.

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Infielder Bobby Rose is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder Saturday, a club spokesman said.


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