BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : ANGELS : It's Official: Perez Is the First Baseman

The Angels have decided that Eduardo Perez will be their starting first baseman, and barring any trades, could open the season with first baseman J.T. Snow at triple-A Vancouver.

"It's a viable option," General Manager Bill Bavasi said, "but nothing's been decided."

The simple reason for Snow's possible demotion is that they want Perez to play first base instead of left field because of his tender elbow. They could keep Snow on the bench as a defensive specialist, but the Angels are worried his skills would diminish.

"I still cannot foresee opening the season with J.T. and (left fielder) Dwight Smith," Manager Buck Rodgers said before the Angels' 13-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. "We just cannot get enough at-bats for everybody at this point. We have to do something. We have a lot of options, and a trade is not the only one."

Snow was on the verge of being traded Friday to the New York Mets for starter Anthony Young until Bavasi changed his mind. The trade was postponed, and if Young is not traded before Tuesday, the Angels will be on hand to scout him again.

They have no other viable trade options for Snow or Smith. To maintain Snow's trade value, the Angels believe it might be best if he plays every day in Vancouver rather than sit on the bench.

The club also decided that second baseman Kevin Flora is not ready to play in the big leagues and optioned him to Vancouver. The Angels also are expected to option Russ Springer to Vancouver and will try to convert him into a bullpen stopper.

The Angels, who are willing to trade Springer (0-2, 14.34 ERA), will immediately begin their pursuit of a utility infielder who can start at second. They are focusing their attention on infielders Jose Vizcaino, Jose Hernandez and Rey Sanchez of the Chicago Cubs.

"I will not expend a fortune, or commit to anything longer than a one-year contract," Bavasi said, "because we still believe Kevin is our second baseman of the future. But we will look for an infielder."

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Rookie Brian Anderson received a phone call Saturday morning from pitching coach Chuck Hernandez telling him he might pitch at their minor league camp. "I thought, 'Well, I'm gone,' " Anderson said. "I wonder why they just don't come out and tell me?" Hernandez, however, simply was informing Anderson that Tempe Diablo Stadium might be too wet.

When Anderson arrived at the park, was reassured that he had not been cut, and proved a few hours later that he might be staying. Anderson pitched three hitless innings and immediately becomes the front-runner for the fifth spot in the starting rotation. "If it was up to me, yeah, I'd say I belong on the team," Anderson said. "I know I can pitch up here, and after being around these guys, I feel I belong."

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