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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : ANGELS : Rainout Forces Doubleheader

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The Angels’ team bus left the hotel Saturday amid a hailstorm, took a detour en route to Tiger Stadium because of street flooding, and when players got to the clubhouse they could have trekked to the field . . . in a life raft. The tunnel from the clubhouse to dugout was flooded with about two feet of water.

So it was no surprise when the Angels’ game against the Detroit Tigers was rained out. The game is scheduled to be made up today as part of a doubleheader beginning at 9:15 a.m. PDT.

The first game will feature a matchup of all-star left-handers, Detroit’s David Wells against Chuck Finley; Tiger right-hander Mike Moore will face right-hander Mike Bielecki in the second. Channel 5 will televise the first game only.

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It will be the first doubleheader the Angels have played since Aug. 27, 1993, when they were swept at Milwaukee.

“I don’t like doubleheaders,” leadoff batter Tony Phillips said. “They’re grinding. To keep the focus for 18 innings is tough. I’m pooped after one game, let alone two. But we have a lot of young legs on this team, so it could be fun.”

The Angels, at least, will have the services of right fielder and cleanup batter Tim Salmon, who sat out his first game of the season Friday because of a stomach virus but was in Saturday’s lineup and feeling much better.

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Catcher Greg Myers may have lost his starting job to Jorge Fabregas, but at least he has been able to contribute offensively for the last three weeks, filling in capably for injured designated hitter Chili Davis.

But when Davis eventually returns. . . .

“I’m physically able to catch every day, but I’m not dumb, either,” said Myers, who is batting .252 with four homers and 24 runs batted in. “I’m not being used [behind the plate]. That kind of tells me I probably won’t be used there.”

Myers, who missed significant time because of injuries in four of the last six seasons, was told in spring training he would catch a majority of the games. But days before the season opener he fouled a ball off his right foot, broke a bone in his big toe and opened the season on the disabled list.

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The left-handed-hitting Myers returned May 6 and batted .261 in four weeks before straining a quadriceps muscle on May 31. He spent three more weeks on the disabled list, but during this absence, Fabregas impressed Angel coaches with his improved defensive play (throwing out 11 of 34 attempted base-stealers) and a surprisingly potent bat (.268).

When Myers came back from the disabled list June 21, he was relegated to the designated-hitter role and has caught only three games since.

“Injuries got me again,” Myers said. “That happens to catchers a lot during the course of the season. It’s just the nature of the job to get banged up. But at least being the DH has given me a chance to get some at-bats and still feel like I’m part of the team.”

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Spring training gave us replacement baseball players. Now we have replacement baseball writers. Union employees of the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press went on strike Thursday, but the News sent a replacement writer to cover Saturday’s game.

Detroit Manager Sparky Anderson, who refused to manage replacement players, said he was uncomfortable having a replacement writer in the clubhouse. Asked whether he would talk to him, he said, “We’ll wait and see.”

But the writer received a cold reception from other reporters--Angel beat writer Terry Johnson of the South Bay Daily Breeze tried to lock him out of the press box in a rainstorm.

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