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Heat Makes the Team Search for Some Shelter

The Angels caught a little break Sunday night. The game-time temperature at the Ballpark in Arlington was only 92 degrees, as opposed to the 93- and 95- degree scorchers they endured their first two nights in Texas.

After 2 1/2 months of near-perfect weather throughout the country, the Angels stepped into an inferno in Arlington, where the humidity created heat indexes in the 115-degree range over the weekend.

Many Angels have coped by altering their pre-game routines, taking batting practice in the indoor cages instead of outside, cutting down on the number of ground balls they take, and, in one player’s case, having a bag of fluids pumped intravenously into his wrist.

“In weather like this you become like a turtle--you keep your head out of the sun and pace yourself,” Angel shortstop Gary DiSarcina said. “You don’t want to get too emotional, because it’s so hot that can take away from your energy on the field.”

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Both DiSarcina and left fielder Darin Erstad said they have lost four or five pounds a night during this series, weight they put on the next day by drinking lots of fluids.

Third baseman Dave Hollins, who has diabetes, had to come out of Friday night’s game in the sixth inning because of heat exhaustion. “I was dizzy, and I had no strength,” he said. “I couldn’t even swing a bat.”

Hollins fared a lot better Saturday night after having an IV bag of fluids pumped into him about an hour before the game.

“It’s pretty draining playing here,” Erstad said. “I wouldn’t want to do this all summer.”

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Catcher Phil Nevin served the last game of a three-game suspension and Manager Terry Collins the sixth day of an eight-day suspension Sunday night. Reliever Rich DeLucia begins his two-game suspension tonight.

Nevin watched the weekend games from his hotel, spending some of the time with Collins, and hated it. “I couldn’t sit still,” he said. “Terry was a lot more calm than I thought he’d be. I guess he has a few under his belt.”

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Pitcher Allen Watson, on the disabled list since May 24 because of tendinitis in his left flexor muscle, will make a rehabilitation start for double-A Midland in El Paso on Tuesday night. Watson, who will be limited to 60 pitches or four innings, will make a second start for Class-A Lake Elsinore on Sunday in hopes of returning to the Angel rotation by early July. . . . Second baseman Justin Baughman, out for a week because of a slight concussion and facial lacerations, replaced Norberto Martin in the eighth inning Sunday night and should be ready to start again tonight or Tuesday.

TODAY’S GAME

ANGELS’ STEVE SPARKS

(0-0, 0.00 ERA)

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vs.

RANGERS’ BOBBY WITT

(5-3, 7.36 ERA)

The Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, 5:30 p.m.

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TV--Channel 9. Radio--KRLA (1110), XPRS (1090), KIK-FM (94.3).

* Update-- Sparks, a knuckleballer, is making his Angel debut tonight. “You never know when to take them out, because they could have a bad inning, and the next inning they could get the feel back,” Manager Terry Collins said. “But the one thing they can do is give you innings.” Sparks will take the roster spot of catcher Ben Molina, who was sent to triple-A Vancouver after Sunday night’s game. Sparks had elbow reconstruction surgery last June and has not pitched in the big leagues since 1996, when he was with Milwaukee.


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