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Langston Adapts to New Role

Mark Langston went 18 days without pitching before throwing 6 1/3 scoreless innings to lead the San Diego Padres to a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners Thursday. So, what was ailing the former Angel left-hander? Sore elbow? Bum shoulder? Aching knee?

“Two off-days--I got bumped twice,” Langston said. “It’s been a long time since that has happened.”

Langston spent much of his 14-year career, including six years with the Mariners and eight with the Angels, as an ace or No. 2 starter, but he is learning how the other half of the rotation lives this season as a No. 5 starter behind Kevin Brown, Andy Ashby, Joey Hamilton and Sterling Hitchcock.

“It may be an adjustment on another team, but not this one,” Langston said of the Padres, who lead the National League West by 6 1/2 games after Friday night’s victory. “I’m having the time of my life. We have four guys who are dealing, so I understand.”

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Langston opened the season on the disabled list because of a shoulder injury, which he suffered hitting, not pitching, but the elbow problems that limited him to nine starts for the Angels last season have not flared up. “I’ve been real pleasantly surprised by that,” said Langston, who is 2-1 with a 4.32 earned-run average in eight starts.

The surprise is shared by the Angels, who did not offer Langston arbitration last December, essentially releasing him, because of health concerns.

“When the door closed in Anaheim I was disappointed,” said Langston, who commutes to San Diego from his home in Anaheim Hills. “But for whatever reason things have worked out here. I could not be happier.”

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After Thursday’s visit with Dr. James Andrews, a shoulder specialist from Alabama, Todd Greene has decided to hold off on surgery to correct a condition known as internal impingement, which is caused by instability in the shoulder.

Greene, whose future as a catcher is in jeopardy, will attempt to rehabilitate his shoulder for the next month, mixing in batting practice and work at first base toward the end of July, and if he’s strong enough to contribute, he’ll likely be activated.

If not, he will undergo surgery sometime around Aug. 1, which would give him enough time to recover for spring training next season.

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Allen Watson, making his third minor league rehabilitation start, gave up three runs on six hits in six innings for triple-A Vancouver against Tacoma Friday night. Watson struck out eight and walked two during his 98-pitch performance, which included 61 strikes and 37 balls. He also gave up two-run homer to Tilson Brito.

TONIGHT

ANGELS’ OMAR OLIVARES (5-2, 2.76 ERA) vs. PADRES’ STERLING HITCHCOCK (3-1, 3.63 ERA)

Qualcomm Stadium, 1 p.m.

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TV--Ch. 11. Radio--KRLA (1110), XPRS (1090), KIK-FM (94.3)

* Update--Olivares ran his string of consecutive quality starts (six innings or more, three earned runs or less) to eight Monday night when he gave up only three earned runs on seven hits in eight innings of a 6-5 victory over the Dodgers. The right-hander ranks first in the American League in opponents’ average with runners in scoring position (.130) and double plays induced (16), and the Angels are 7-4 in his 11 starts since Olivares moved from the bullpen to the rotation.


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