Loss Isn’t Their Only Setback : Angels: The Indians dominate a 10-2 game. Lachemann injures Hudler in freak accident.
They have a fancy new ballpark in this town and fans are filling the seats for the first time since 1948, but despite the aesthetics, the Angels were cruelly reminded Monday that they still are in Cleveland.
“There’s something about this place,” Angel left fielder Bo Jackson said, “that depresses you. It seems like nothing ever goes right in Cleveland.”
How lousy of a day was it for the Angels?
They were routed, 10-2, by the Cleveland Indians in front of 33,878 fans at Jacobs Field, and the game might have been the least of their problems.
It was a day that began with Angel Manager Marcel Lachemann trying to explain how he injured his hottest hitter, second baseman Rex Hudler. Hudler was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right shoulder and replaced with infielder Rod Correia.
In the afternoon, third baseman Damion Easley was sent to the hospital for X-rays on his right shoulder, where tendinitis will sideline him until at least this weekend.
The night was spent watching John Farrell pitching perhaps his last game in an Angel uniform. Roster moves might soon be taking place, beginning with the possible Friday arrival of first baseman J.T. Snow.
The Angels (23-29), losing three consecutive games by a combined score of 24-6, dropped out first place in the American League West with their latest debacle. It was so ugly that Cleveland Manager Mike Hargrove began pulling his regulars out of the game in the sixth inning, with his team ahead, 9-0. The only suspense was whether Cleveland starter Charles Nagy (4-3) would pitch a shutout, which was ruined by Jorge Fabregas’ two-out, run-scoring single in the ninth.
“It’s not a moral victory to score two runs in the ninth inning,” Lachemann said. “Moral victories are losses.”
Farrell, meanwhile, couldn’t survive the fifth inning. Lachemann conceded after the game that Farrell’s future with the Angels might be in jeopardy because Brian Anderson is scheduled to rejoin the rotation this week. Farrell allowed eight hits and seven runs in four innings.
“I’m well aware of my situation,” said Farrell, 1-2 with a 9.00 earned-run average. “I have no control over the decisions. But let’s face it, you’ve got guys on multi-year contacts who are going to continue to get the ball. I don’t have one.”
While Lachemann was being secretive with possible roster moves, he rounded up reporters Monday morning to his hotel room to confess the cause of Hudler’s injury.
It happened at the end of batting practice Saturday in Toronto, Lachemann said. He and Hudler were gathering balls in the outfield when they saw one lone ball in between them. They looked at one another, and took off running for it. Hudler was there first, and when he reached to pick the ball up, Lachemann jokingly lunged at it with his fungo bat.
The bat bounced off the turf and hit Hudler’s right ankle. Hudler then dove to avoid the bat, tumbled onto the turf, and landed on his right shoulder. He felt an instant wave of pain shooting through his shoulder.
“I was shocked because I didn’t expect it,” Hudler said. “Nobody uses their bat like that. I mean, he’s the manager.
“But as soon as I landed, I felt something snap right away. I tried to play it off, but I walked over to Spike (Owen), and said, ‘Spike, the man got me.’
“I don’t think (Lachemman) thought anything of it until I didn’t take infield. He walked into the trainer’s room, and saw the ice pack on my shoulder, and wondered what was wrong.
“I said, “Hey, nothing that a few weeks won’t heal.’ I could see the steam coming out of his ears. It was like I just insulted his wife.”
Lachemann decided to wait before making any announcements, hoping that Hudler’s clavicle was improved. Instead, Hudler told him that he likely would be out at least a week, although doctors privately told him it may be three weeks.
“That was kind of strange,” Hudler said, laughing, “a manager taking out his hottest hitter and putting him on the disabled list. I could see it if I was hitting a buck-50, (.150), and not stealing bases, but I was their hottest hitter.”
Hudler, who platooned at second base with Harold Reynolds and was batting leadoff, was batting .406 this season. In the last eight games he played, Hudler was batting .533 with three homers and seven RBIs.
“I feel terrible about it, obviously,” Lachemann said. “It’s just one of those things that happened, and I regret it.”