Right-Hander Ontiveros Nears Deal With Angels


Free-agent pitcher Steve Ontiveros said Thursday he’s “leaning toward signing with the Angels,” and the right-hander is expected to announce his decision today.

“They fixed their proposal [Thursday] and I like the offer,” said Ontiveros, a 1995 American League All-Star who went 9-6 with a 4.37 earned-run average for the Oakland Athletics last season.

“I have to weigh it against the other offers, but the Angels stand a good chance. There’s a lot I like about their situation.”


Ontiveros, who had surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow after the season, said the San Francisco Giants and one other team, which he declined to name, have made competitive offers.

Though he made $900,000 last season, the Angels’ offer is believed to include a lower base salary with incentive bonuses that could boost his pay considerably.

When healthy, Ontiveros, has been one of the league’s better pitchers--he went 6-4 with a league-low 2.65 ERA for the A’s in 1994. A healthy Ontiveros would give the Angels a formidable rotation that already includes left-handers Chuck Finley, Mark Langston and Jim Abbott.

But Ontiveros, 34, has been on the disabled list seven times during his eight-year major league career and underwent reconstructive elbow surgery in 1989.

He was released by the Detroit Tigers in April 1992, and did not pitch professionally that season. But he bounced back to have a solid 1993 season for triple-A Portland (Ore.) and the Seattle Mariners, and had another strong year in 1994.

After making the All-Star team for the first time in his career last July, a bone spur in his elbow flared up, and Ontiveros tailed off considerably in the second half of the season. But he said he received a clean bill of health from a Giants physician and has been working out all winter in Arizona.


“I feel pretty good,” Ontiveros said. “The Angels have a good team, I like their chances of winning, and I know I can help them. There’s a lot of positives to their situation.”