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BASEBALL DAILY REPORT : ANGELS : Magrane to Make Season Debut Tonight

Pitcher Joe Magrane realizes he’s not going to silence the critics in one start, but he is eager to prove the Angels made the right decision bysigning him last year to a lucrative free-agent contract.

Magrane, who underwent arthroscopic elbow surgery Feb. 8, makes his season debut tonight against the New York Yankees. Although he pitched Saturday for triple-A Vancouver, the Angels are bringing him back one day early to face the Yankees’ predominantly left-handed lineup.

“I feel I let the club down,” said Magrane, who’s guaranteed $3 million through 1995, and is eligible to earn $9.3 million over three years. “They put a lot of faith in me, and I got hurt. That’s why I want to bust my (butt) for them.

“I also have re-appreciation of the game now. Let’s face it, this is one of the most exclusive men’s clubs in the country, and you can’t buy your way in.

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“I’ve missed that.”

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Pitcher Mark Langston is progressing so quickly from his April 12 elbow surgery that he’s planning on returning to the Angel rotation during the May 13-15 series against the Seattle Mariners.

Langston threw 75 pitches pain-free Tuesday, and is scheduled to throw lightly Thursday. He will pitch a simulated game Sunday morning.

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If all goes well, Dr. Lewis Yocum agrees that there’s no reason Langston can’t pitch in the Seattle series.

“Today was a big day for me for turning it up a notch,” Langston said. “I didn’t throw 100% (velocity), but I got close. It’s a tremendous relief for me.”

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Former Angel left fielder Luis Polonia, after seeing the hole at Anaheim Stadium caused by the Northridge earthquake: “That thing cost $10 million? They could have paid me that.”

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Polonia, who signed a two-year, $3 million contract with the Yankees, went to the Angel bench before the game and planted a kiss on 92-year-old coach Jimmie Reese’s cheek, telling him how much he missed him.

Polonia says he loves being with the Yankees, but he’s having difficulty buying this juiced-ball theory.

“They say the ball’s juiced,” Polonia said, “but if it is, why don’t I have five to 10 homers?”

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The only time in Polonia’s career that he has hit more than two homers was in 1987, when he had four. That, by the way, was the last time the ball was supposed to be juiced.

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Left-handed reliever Ken Patterson underwent “Tommy John” elbow surgery Tuesday, and will be sidelined at least a year, according to Yocum.

Patterson suffered a severed ligament April 24 while pitching against the Boston Red Sox. Yocum transplanted a ligament from his right wrist to elbow.

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The Major League Players Assn. is expected to issue a strike date to the owners soon, providing a 60-day notice. . . . Angel center fielder Chad Curtis and his wife Candace became parents Monday when seven-pound, eight-ounce Corazon Elizabeth was born. . . . The Angels pushed Mark Leiter back two days in the rotation, and he will now start Saturday, allowing rookie Brian Anderson to pitch on his fifth day.


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