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Ortiz Hoping for Chance to Pitch Against Idol Martinez

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Pedro Martinez, Ramon Ortiz’s idol, pitched for the Boston Red Sox Thursday night. Ortiz started for the Angels Thursday afternoon. If both right-handers from the Dominican Republic remain on normal schedules--four days between starts--they will square off in Fenway Park on Aug. 29.

“That would be the best day of my life,” Ortiz said after shutting down the White Sox in his big league debut Thursday. “I asked God for a chance to pitch against Pedro, and it might happen. It would bring great happiness to me. Between the lines, we’ll be enemies. Before the game and after the game, we’ll be friends.”

Ortiz will need a little help from Angel Manager Terry Collins for his dream matchup to come true. The Angels are off next Thursday, so Collins will have to skip Jarrod Washburn’s spot in the rotation to start Ortiz in Fenway. Red Sox Manager Jimy Williams likes to keep Martinez on a regular schedule, so he’s expected to start that day despite Thursday’s day off.

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“We don’t want to do too much to screw this kid up,” Collins said. “But we’re certainly going to think about [starting Ortiz against Martinez].”

Martinez struck out 15 in a 6-0 victory over the Angels on May 7. Ortiz, a former teammate of Martinez’s in the Dominican Winter League, was impressive in his debut Thursday, giving up one run on four hits in eight innings of a 9-2 victory that took only 2 hours 39 minutes to complete.

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Right fielder Tim Salmon said watching Ortiz on Thursday reminded him of 1992, when he was called up to the Angels in August and Chuck Finley, Mark Langston and Jim Abbott were in their prime.

“They’d go eight innings and give up one or two hits, just like Ramon today,” Salmon said. “That’s some power right there. It’s going to be nice playing behind this guy in the future. I’m glad we didn’t trade him away.

“Most of our prospects the last few years have been position players. It’s nice to see a blue-chip prospect with a great arm in our organization. I’m sure he’ll take some lumps, but he’s a young guy and will get better.”

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The White Sox were impressed with Ortiz, but they weren’t quite ready to declare him the next Martinez.

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“I really don’t think there’s another pitcher in the big leagues in Pedro’s class,” Greg Norton said. “Because of Ortiz’s small structure and good velocity, they can be compared, but Pedro has the unbelievable equalizer, the changeup. This guy’s changeup is 89 mph.”

Paul Konerko said, “I think his fastball is in the same ballpark, but other than that, Pedro has pinpoint command of three pitches. Maybe this guy will be like him one day.”

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Ortiz said that having Ben Molina, his catcher at triple-A Edmonton, behind the plate helped, and DiSarcina could tell it made a difference.

“Ben was on the same page with him the whole afternoon, so you have to give him some credit,” DiSarcina said. “It was probably a little bit of a security blanket for Ramon.”

--MIKE DiGIOVANNA

* Opponent--Detroit Tigers, four games.

* Site--Edison Field.

* Tonight--7.

* TV--Fox Sports West tonight and Saturday night, Channel 9 Monday night.

* Radio--KLAC (570), XPRS (1090).

* Records--Angels 49-71, Tigers 47-73.

* Record vs. Tigers--3-3.

TONIGHT

ANGELS’

CHUCK FINLEY

(7-10, 5.15 ERA)

vs.

TIGERS’

BRIAN MOEHLER

(8-12, 5.59)

* Update--When Finley and Moehler pitched last weekend, the results were good for the Angels. The Angels bombed Moehler for seven runs on 11 hits in 6 1/3 innings in last Saturday’s 7-4 victory over the Tigers, and Finley gave up only two runs on six hits and struck out 12 in 6 2/3 innings of the Angels’ 10-2 win over Detroit on Sunday. Finley has given up three runs on 15 hits and struck out 26 in 21 1/3 innings of his last three starts, all since the July 31 trading deadline. Mo Vaughn has three homers in his last four games, and Troy Glaus has three homers in his last seven.

* Saturday, 7 p.m.--Jarrod Washburn (0-1, 8.44) vs. Jeff Weaver (6-9, 5.56).

* Sunday, 5 p.m.--Steve Sparks (5-9, 4.74) vs. Dave Borkowski (0-3, 8.21).

* Monday, 7 p.m.--Tim Belcher (5-7, 6.67) vs. TBA.

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