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Erstad Likes What He Sees

Left-fielder Darin Erstad, who lost a fly ball in the eggshell-colored roof of the Metrodome the last time the Angels were in Minneapolis, tried the looking-through-rose-colored-glasses approach during batting practice Tuesday.

OK, they were really orange-colored glasses.

“I don’t know if they’ll work,” he said, “but I can’t see anything out there anyway so I might as well try them.”

Apparently, they helped because Erstad used them in the game and handled everything hit his way.

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Maybe he should have brought a few extra pair because some of his teammates were still searching for answers and popups.

Garret Anderson had trouble picking up a high fly ball off the bat of Paul Molitor in the first and it fell in front of him for a double. And in the fourth, third baseman Craig Shipley chased a David Ortiz pop foul over to the railing and was looking up into the stands when the ball dropped on the warning track next to him.

*

If it weren’t for Tim Salmon’s foot injury, there already would be too many Angels in the outfield. But there may be one more before long. General Manager Bill Bavasi says he thinks Todd Greene, on a rehabilitation assignment with triple-A Vancouver, eventually will end up playing there.

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“Someday, maybe two or three years down the road, he may catch again, but not right away,” Bavasi said.

Greene is scheduled to rejoin the Angels when the team returns to Anaheim next Wednesday. He’ll work out with them for several days and then report to Class-A Lake Elsinore to continue his rehabilitation. The Angels hope to activate him in August as a reserve first baseman and right-handed pinch-hitter.

If the Angels consider Greene as an outfielder next season, they would have five players--Greene, Anderson, Erstad, Jim Edmonds and Salmon--for three positions. The Angels have offered Anderson and Edmonds in possible trades for a No. 1 pitcher for three years now, without success. Barring a trade, the Angels could play all five by returning Erstad to first base and using Greene as designated hitter.

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One streak the Angels would like to end is their propensity for having players injured on freak plays. Outfielder Orlando Palmeiro, pinch-hitting for Justin Baughman in the ninth inning Tuesday night, reached out and fouled a low-and-away pitch off the plate. The ball rebounded and struck him below the left eye.

He was taken to an area hospital for precautionary X-rays.

TONIGHT

ANGELS’ STEVE SPARKS

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(3-2, 5.12 ERA)

vs.

TWINS’ BRAD RADKE

(9-8, 3.24 ERA)

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Metrodome, 5 p.m.

Radio--KRLA (1110), XPRS (1090)

* Update--Sparks gave up five runs in the first inning of an 8-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday. In two games against the Angels this season, Radke has held them to two runs, winning 8-1 and 9-1. Third baseman Dave Hollins was a late scratch in Tuesday’s lineup because of an inflamed right shoulder. Craig Shipley replaced him.


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