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ANGELS : Farrell Finally Finds Place in the Rotation

TIMES STAFF WRITER

While starter John Farrell kept telling himself all winter he would be in the rotation, it wasn’t until Tuesday that the Angels finally believed it themselves.

“I had no idea he’d be able to do this,” Angel Manager Buck Rodgers said. “To go from not throwing a pitch in two years, to pitching like this, it’s something we never thought would happen.”

Farrell, who has been sidelined two years because of two elbow surgeries, officially was named the Angels’ fourth starter Tuesday after their 8-7 defeat to the Milwaukee Brewers.

In his longest outing since 1990, when he was with the Cleveland Indians, Farrell gave up five hits and four earned runs in seven innings. Farrell threw 90 pitches in the game and another 15 afterward in the bullpen, proving to the Angels he’s capable of enduring an entire game.

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“I kind of expected to be in this position all winter,” Farrell said, “and now that they’ve told me I’m in the rotation, it really hasn’t sunk in yet.”

Farrell, who will make his comeback debut April 10 against the Detroit Tigers at Anaheim Stadium, has given up only 14 hits in 23 innings this spring, posting a 2.35 earned-run average.

“We thought his arm strength wouldn’t be this strong until mid-season,” said Whitey Herzog, club vice president. “We never had any idea he’d do so well this early.”

The Angels also informed Russ Springer that he will start the season at triple-A Vancouver. If he is successful in his first two starts, Springer was told it’s possible he could rejoin the team.

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“I knew they were going to do something,” said Springer, who was 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA this spring, “and I had a feeling it was going to be me. I dug a hole for myself and didn’t quite make it out.”

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Herzog said he will watch the waiver wire today and might try to sign left-handed reliever David Wells if he is unclaimed in the next 72 hours. Wells, who was released Tuesday by the Toronto Blue Jays, is scheduled to earn $2.05 million this season. If he is unclaimed, he will become a free agent and can be signed at a negotiated salary.

The Angels also will continue their attempt to acquire a left-hander in a trade, Herzog said, offering right-handers Chuck Crim or Scott Lewis in return. The Angels have decided that they won’t keep both right-handers on their roster.

Angel Notes

Angel first baseman J.T. Snow, who was batting .173 this spring, had his best game of the Cactus League, going two for four with a triple. “I’ve been thinking about little things at the plate, instead of just swinging,” Snow said. “I want to show them what I can do, and maybe I’ve been trying too hard.” . . . Rookie right fielder Tim Salmon also had his best game, going three for four with a double and triple. . . . The Angels still are undecided whether to keep left-handed reliever Mark Holzemer on their big league team or have him start at triple-A Vancouver. “We’ve got divided opinions on that,” Vice President Whitey Herzog said. "(Pitching coach) Chuck Hernandez would like to see him down there starting. But in the meantime, what are we going to use?”

Pitcher Julio Valera, who will open the season in the bullpen, reported no pain in his elbow after Monday’s extensive workout.


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