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Different Cast, Same Outlook for DiSarcina

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Gary DiSarcina walked into the Angel clubhouse Wednesday afternoon with a new cast that looked just like his old cast, and his teammates seemed more disappointed than the injured shortstop, who broke a bone in his left forearm when he was hit by a fungo bat Feb. 21.

The Angels were hoping DiSarcina would be fitted with a short cast, allowing him to resume more rigorous workouts, but after being reexamined and X-rayed Wednesday, DiSarcina’s arm remained in a full, but lighter, cast, going from his hand to his biceps.

“I think I was being a little too optimistic,” DiSarcina said. “The bones lined up perfect, but there was no sign of calcifying yet, so they didn’t want to take any chances. I’m not ready for a short cast.”

DiSarcina, however, did not view this as a setback. He still believes his original timetable--four weeks in a cast and a week or two of rehabilitation to prepare for the season opener--is attainable.

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DiSarcina has been riding an exercise bike, doing isometric exercises and throwing for the last four days. Doctors told him Wednesday he could run, but DiSarcina is hesitant because he still feels pain.

“I know my body, and if I swing and there’s pain, I won’t play, because that’s not good pain--it means I could re-break it,” DiSarcina said.

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If Chuck Finley had never experienced the upper-back spasms that have sidelined him for five days, he might be a little more concerned about the condition that could jeopardize his opening-day start.

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But the pain Finley has been feeling around his neck is as familiar as the No. 31 on the back of his jersey, a regular spring-training occurrence.

“It usually goes away right when we finish pitchers fielding practice,” Finley said of the mundane morning workouts. “I think we’ll be done with those [today], so I should be ready to go in another day or so.”

Finley’s problem is that when he turns his head to the side, his neck locks up. With rest and physical therapy, the spasms have begun to dissipate.

“I’m not going to be out a week--I’ll be throwing Friday with or without their permission,” said Finley, the 36-year-old left-hander who is beginning his 14th year with the Angels. “We’re still four weeks away [from the season-opener]. I should be on track.”

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A lineup of Angel regulars produced five runs on seven hits in two innings Wednesday night in a 16-9 exhibition victory over Arizona State. . . . The Angels Wednesday agreed to terms with pitcher Jason Dickson, second baseman Justin Baughman and catcher Bret Hemphill on 1999 contracts.


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