The Stars Align for Some Artful Baserunning

The harmonic convergence that sent Gregg Jefferies on his mad dash from first base in the first inning was a four-parter.

First, it was a 3-and-2 pitch.

Second, you had Jefferies' aggressive baserunning.

Third, you had a slow delivery from pitcher Tim Belcher.

Finally, you had third base coach Larry Bowa, who rarely throws up a caution sign, let alone flashes red.

"When you have Larry as a third base coach, anything can happen," Manager Terry Collins said.

Jefferies reached on an error, loading the bases. He took off when Belcher went into an extended windup and was already at second base Garret Anderson singled into center field. He scored easily.

"That's the first time I ever took off like that," Jefferies said. "I never let up because I know how aggressive Larry Bowa is.

"It was the element of surprise. I don't think [center fielder] Johnny Damon expected me to keep going."

Belcher took full responsibility.

"I made a mistake there," he said. "When I got deep into count I kind did that [Hideo] Nomo wind up. I paused at the top to throw the hitter's timing off. I was so focused on trying to get the hitter, and Jefferies was gone."

Anderson saw it differently.

"That had nothing to do with Bowa," he said. "That was all Gregg."


Belcher couldn't help but admire the Angels.

"Everything Disney touches turns to gold," he said. "Why should the Angels be any different? I should have bought Disney stock a long time ago, but I didn't have any money."

Collins remains confident that closer Troy Percival will be ready Tuesday. Percival sat out the last two days with a sore shoulder.

"You know Troy," Collins said. "I talked with him today and he said, 'I feel fine. I feel great. If you need me . . .' I said, 'No. I'll need you Tuesday.' "

Tuesday, though, is by no means a certainty, as Collins would rather Percival rested and ready for the coming games against the Texas Rangers. Percival will receive treatment today and Collins will make a determination on Tuesday.

"When he comes out and plays catch, if he doesn't look comfortable, then we'll shut him down," Collins said. "I expect to have some leads that need to be protected down the line."

Of course, the extent of the problem depends on who you talk with. Angel officials call it a "sore" shoulder, which is a sore point to Percival, who tends to stay away from such words. He said he had a "weak" shoulder.

"I just need to get in the weight room," Percival said. "I was up eight times on the last road trip. I just needed a day off. I could have pitched if they need me. To me, it's no big deal."

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