BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : ANGELS : Slow Start, Bad Wrist Bothering Perez

The Angels remain convinced they have the right man playing first base, but although Eduardo Perez is thankful for the club's support, it has not eased his frustration.

"I've never started off so slow in my life," said Perez, who entered Saturday batting .200 with five homers and 15 RBIs. "I'm not lost. I know what I'm doing.

"But, man, this has been something."

Perez offered no excuses for his two-for-26 slump, but he has been playing the last four games despite a strained ligament in his left wrist. He suffered the injury Tuesday while batting against the New York Yankees and until Friday has had difficulty even picking up a bat.

Yet, with Jim Edmonds still unable to play since suffering a mild concussion Tuesday, Perez realizes that he is needed.

"I've got no excuses," Perez said. "If I couldn't play, I wouldn't be in there. The wrist is getting better, and I'll be fine.

"I know I can do it, I just can't wait to show it."

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While evidence reveals that the Angels might be playing in the weakest division in baseball history, there have been few years in which any division in professional sports has been worse.

The American League West enters May without a team owning a winning record, bidding to make its dubious mark in history.

The only divisions in the four major sports to have a champion finish with a losing record are the following:

--The 1986-87 Norris Division of the NHL: St. Louis Blues, 32-33-15.

--The 1971-72 Central Division of the NBA: Baltimore Bullets, 38-44. --The 1956-57 West Division of the NBA: St. Louis Hawks, Minneapolis Lakers and Ft. Wayne Pistons, 34-38.

The challenge, of course, is to determine if any division can be worse than the 1971-1972 NBA Central, which is regarded as the worst among the four major professional sports.

The division that season finished a combined 75 games below .500: Baltimore Bullets 38-44, Atlanta Hawks 36-46, Cincinnati Royals 30-52, and Cleveland Cavaliers 23-59.

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Pitcher Joe Magrane, who is scheduled to join the Angels today, gave up four hits and three earned runs in three innings Saturday in his final rehabilitative start for triple-A Vancouver. He will take John Dopson's spot in the rotation Wednesday against the New York Yankees.

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