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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : ANGELS : Jackson Launches Memorable Blast

Only a handful of people were there to witness it, but Bo Jackson made history Friday when he slammed a batting-practice pitch into the third row of seats in the second deck in left field at Anaheim Stadium. According to the Angel public relations staff, Jackson is the first to reach the second deck, either in a game or batting practice.

Observers’ estimates ranged from 460 to 500 feet. His memorable blast to the tarp that covers the football seats in center field in the 1989 All-Star game measured 448 feet.

When the ball was hit, the Angels all seemed to stop and watch its flight. “They all said, ‘Oh, my God,’ ” said Angel coach Sam Suplizio, who pitched batting practice.

“I threw my best heat with this 61-year-old arm,” Suplizio said with a laugh. “He supplied all his own power. He’s giving me a terrible complex hitting all those rockets off me. I think he hit it so hard it knocked part of the stadium down.”

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He pointed to the earthquake-damaged upper deck and laughed again.

“Was that amazing?” Tim Salmon said. “Unbelievable.”

Said Gary DiSarcina: “It was ridiculous. Pretty amazing.”

Jackson downplayed the feat.

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“Oh, that’s BP,” he said. “I don’t think anything of it. If I hit one like that in a game, come see me. We can talk for three days. I didn’t try to hit it up there. It just went.”

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Jim Edmonds, still feeling the effects of the concussion he suffered Tuesday in New York, took batting practice and fielded ground balls. He couldn’t make it through Thursday’s pregame workout, complaining of dizziness.

“I’m waiting to see how far I can go every day,” Edmonds said.

Manager Buck Rodgers said Edmonds probably won’t play until Tuesday.

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Rodgers believes he has found a leadoff hitter in third baseman Damion Easley, who was inserted into the spot April 19. “I think right now Damion is a better leadoff hitter (than Chad Curtis),” Rodgers said. “A month from now, I don’t know.” Easley went into Friday batting .272 to Curtis’ .237.


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