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Angels Suddenly Loaded at Second After Deals for Shipley, Garcia

The Angels came up with another contingency plan at second base Monday night when they signed infielder Carlos Garcia, who was released by the Cleveland Indians this spring after batting only .192 in 12 games.

With Randy Velarde on the disabled list and his comeback from 1997 elbow reconstruction surgery still in doubt, the Angels made numerous trade inquiries about second basemen but were unable to swing a deal during Cactus League play.

Then only two days before Wednesday night’s season opener against the New York Yankees at Edison Field, they acquired two potential second basemen: Garcia and veteran utility player Craig Shipley, who came in a trade with St. Louis for infielder Chip Hale.

Norberto Martin is still expected to be the Angel starter at second, and Garcia and utility infielder Robert Eenhoorn were both on the 25-man roster the Angels submitted to the American League Monday night.

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But there still could be another roster move today, because the Angels must decide between Eenhoorn, who has struggled somewhat defensively this spring, Shipley and Garcia for two reserve spots.

The Angels Monday also purchased the contracts of reserve outfielder Damon Mashore and backup third baseman Frank Bolick and placed them on the 25-man roster.

Reserve outfielder Orlando Palmeiro was optioned to triple-A Vancouver, and infielder Steve Scarsone, outfielder Gary Thurman and catcher Eric Helfand were returned to Vancouver, meaning Manager Terry Collins will carry only two catchers: Matt Walbeck and Phil Nevin.

Garcia, 31, was caught in a numbers crunch at Cleveland, losing out to second basemen Shawon Dunston and Enrique Wilson.

An All-Star with Pittsburgh in 1994, when he led National League second basemen with 80 double plays, Garcia, who can also play shortstop, had decent seasons for the Pirates in 1995 (.294, 50 RBIs in 104 games) and 1996 (.285, 44 RBIs in 101 games).

But he had a miserable season in Toronto in 1997, batting .220 with only 23 RBIs in 103 games. The Blue Jays did not re-sign him, and Garcia didn’t fare much better with the Indians this spring.


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