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BASEBALL DAILY REPORT : ANGELS : A False Alarm for Pitcher James

Reliever Mike James breathlessly telephoned all of his family and friends back home in Florida. He was spending all of his savings on long-distance calls, but who cared, he was in the major leagues.

After spending seven years in the minor leagues, pitching as low as Class-A Vero Beach last season with the Dodgers, he finally had made the show with the Angels.

He arrived Tuesday morning, reported early to the clubhouse, only to hear the bad news: “Sorry, we made a mistake.”

He was not going to be in the big leagues. He was not going to receive a raise of $4,500 a month in the minors to $4,169.41 a week in the majors. He was not even going to be in the Baseball Encyclopedia.

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Everything was off, except that James still was allowed to keep his $328.50 per diem check, and Andrew Lorraine still was optioned to triple-A Vancouver, with the promise of returning by Aug. 20.

“It’s just another page in the book,” James said, shaking his head and laughing. “I have no idea what’s going on. All I know is that they sent for me, and now I got to go back.”

The Angels, it turns out, were unaware that James already had used his three options when they announced his promotion. Because the Angels were going to use him only for two days, and send him back before the tentative Friday strike, he now would have to be passed through waivers to send him back to triple-A Vancouver.

Angel General Manager Bill Bavasi, who had to break the news, simply said: “We screwed up. What can I say, I whiffed it. I don’t feel good about . . . I feel bad for the guy.”

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James now is expected to take a flight back to Tacoma to join the Vancouver team, and if a strike is averted, will fly out again Friday and join the Angels in Detroit.

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Angel Manager Marcel Lachemann, upon reading that Detroit Tiger Manager Sparky Anderson might be in danger of losing his job:

“The last time I talked to him, he planned on managing a while. . . . Sparky’s going to manage as long as he wants. You have those kinds of numbers, and those kinds of credentials, you know what you’re doing.”

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