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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT

Center fielder Jim Edmonds’ sprained right thumb was worse than expected when examined Thursday by Dr. Norman Zemel, a hand and wrist specialist. How much worse is open to debate.

The Angels said they expect Edmonds to be sidelined six to eight weeks. Edmonds said he hopes to be back in the lineup within four to six weeks. He will wear a cast for at least three weeks.

“If [Zemel] is satisfied with the progress, then he will wear a removable cast so he can begin rehabbing,” trainer Ned Bergert said.

Edmonds injured his thumb when he tried to knock the ball from the glove of Kansas City pitcher Jeff Granger on a groundout Tuesday. Edmonds said it was stupid move.

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“I could have taken an out there and been fine,” said Edmonds, who had been activated from the disabled list Monday after being sidelined because of strained stomach and groin muscles.

“I try to knock the ball out of his glove and I’ll sit on the bench for a month. . . . I don’t think it’s as bad as they think it is. . . . I hope I can come back sooner than that [six to eight weeks]. The last thing I want to do is have surgery, though.”

Darin Erstad, last year’s top draft pick, will join the club from triple-A Vancouver today. Erstad, batting .305 with four home runs and 29 runs batted in in 59 games, Rex Hudler and Orlando Palmeiro probably will share the center field duties until Edmonds returns.

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Manager Marcel Lachemann refuted the notion that he has been too stubborn to take struggling left-hander Jim Abbott out of the rotation.

“I can understand some of the criticism because I’ve stuck with him,” Lachemann said. "[But] it’s not because he’s a handicapped pitcher or because he’s a good guy. . . . The guy’s had success before. He’s won 18 games before [in 1991]. That’s why I’ve stuck with him.”

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Right-hander Steve Ontiveros underwent reconstructive elbow surgery Thursday and is expected to sit out the remainder of the season. . . . First baseman J.T. Snow was sidelined by stomach flu. He was replaced by Jack Howell. . . . Reliever Mark Eichhorn continues his rehabilitation, but has yet to throw a ball since going on the disabled list June 7 because of shoulder trouble. . . . Reliever Bryan Harvey, recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery, has stopped recent simulated games because of fatigue rather than pain, according to Lachemann. . . . Lachemann turned 55 Thursday.

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