BASEBALL : Angel Spring Opener 'Could Be a Circus'

The Angels aren't expecting a huge crowd for Wednesday night's exhibition game against Arizona State in Tempe Diablo Stadium. Only 1,300 tickets had been sold as of Monday afternoon.

But because this is the first game involving replacement players, and there is a potential for picket lines outside the stadium, and with the press corps boosted by those in town covering the strike talks, the team is gearing up for a possible media event.

"It could be a circus," Angel Manager Marcel Lachemann said. "This is the first game in an obviously very unusual situation, and there will probably be more media attention than any of these guys have ever been involved in. We'll spend a little time (today) talking to them about it, but I think they're all excited to play."

The Tempe Police Dept. is not planning special security measures for spring training games, but officers have been briefed on how to deal with labor disputes.

"We'll basically try to keep the peace, not take sides, help everyone keep their cool," Tempe police Sgt. Toby Dyas said. "As long as no one tries to impinge on people from going where they want to go, there won't be any problems."

Dyas said anyone trying to block the paths of players entering the stadium or those making deliveries to the stadium will be either cited or arrested.

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Lachemann and Angel coaches got their first look at the replacement team in a game situation Monday during an intersquad scrimmage, which was highlighted by Demond Smith's two triples, Michael Fernandez's double and triple, and two hits each by Joel Smith and Jose Peguero.

"Not too bad," was Lachemann's assessment. "We had some understandable problems with signs, and a couple of guys had to move to different positions because of injuries."

A week of five-hour workouts has begun to take its toll on the aging Angels, who have 13 players who are 30 or older. Three players are sidelined because of injuries, another got hurt Monday, and many have sore arms and legs.

"My legs are drained," said John Fishel, a 32-year-old outfielder/first baseman. "Going down to field grounders, it takes awhile to get back up. But a lot of guys are sore--I'm not a lone ranger."

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