Bo Jackson is coming back to California again, this time, to play baseball.
The Angels have reached a tentative agreement to sign Jackson to a one-year contract, according to highly placed sources, and are planning to schedule a news conference early this week.
Jackson, who returned to baseball last season after undergoing surgery for an artificial hip--an injury sustained while playing for the Raiders--will be guaranteed less than $500,000, according to sources, but can earn more than $1 million if he reaches incentives.
Although the Angels already have Chili Davis as their designated hitter, and are planning to start Eduardo Perez in left field, they have promised Jackson a shot at the starting left-field job. The Angels privately are concerned about Perez’s right elbow, which became inflamed again while playing winter ball.
Jackson, who won the comeback-player-of-the-year award, became a free agent three weeks ago when he rejected the Chicago White Sox’s offer of arbitration. In 85 games last season, he batted .232 with 16 homers and 45 runs batted in.
“He’s a guy we think can help us,” Angel General Manager Bill Bavasi said. “I think we have a nice club on the field, but we’re not in position to absorb injuries.”
Ironically, Jackson returns to the Angels nine years after they originally wanted him. Jackson was drafted in the 20th round by California in 1985, and visited again with the Angels before the 1986 draft. The Angels, however, felt that the Heisman Trophy winner would play in the NFL, and passed on him in the draft. He wound up being drafted by the Kansas City Royals, and in 1987, began a two-sport career by signing with the Raiders.
Jackson, who was selected to the All-Star team as a baseball player and the Pro Bowl as a football player, nurtured his legendary status by hitting a leadoff homer in the 1989 All-Star game at Anaheim Stadium.