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Great Expectations Are Not Met

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The spring training party line from Angel management: With our off-season improvements, we can compete with the powers within the division, the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics.

The Angels are 2-11 against the Mariners and A’s, results that raise the question of whether General Manager Bill Stoneman and Manager Mike Scioscia overrated the impact of the additions of pitchers Kevin Appier and Aaron Sele and designated hitter Brad Fullmer. With Sele and Fullmer not playing well, and with Darin Erstad and Tim Salmon yet to fulfill expectations each would return to his 2000 form, the Angels do not appear to resemble a championship-caliber club.

“I’m not ready to concede anything to anybody,” Stoneman said Tuesday. “We’ve got to play better against clubs in our own division. We’re not happy with the way we’ve played against Seattle and Oakland.

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“I don’t doubt the quality of the players we’re sending out there. We’ve got some pretty talented players. We added guys with talent without really deleting any, because Mo [Vaughn, traded for Appier] really wasn’t here last year.

“It hasn’t jelled. We weren’t hitting well for a while. Now we’ve been scoring plenty of runs to win and all of a sudden the pitching gives way.

“We’re 20 games into the season. We’ve got 142 left. I have to admit, I get as frustrated as anybody. But you have to get hold of yourself and say, what’s the right thing to do?

“It’s not the right thing to do to panic at this point.”

Scioscia refuses to consider the notion the Angels are not good enough until the hitting and pitching clicks together.

“We’ve got to get going on all cylinders so we see what our club can do,” he said. “Until we do, it’s tough to evaluate. We’re not playing close to our potential.

“Obviously, we haven’t met the challenge. But I don’t see this club performing like this for the whole year.”

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Clarification: The letter Birmingham, Ala., businessman Donald Watkins sent to Disney last week, offering $150 million in bank backing for his $250-million offer to buy the Angels, is believed to certify a credit arrangement similar to a loan, according to a source close to the negotiations. The bank is not seeking other investors for Watkins but rather certifying that it will finance $150 million for him.

TONIGHT

ANGELS’

JARROD

WASHBURN

(1-2, 5.48 ERA)

vs.

MARINERS’

PAUL

ABBOTT

(1-1, 9.64)

Safeco Field, Seattle, 7

TV--ESPN.

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

Update--Outfielder Darin Erstad is still bothered by headaches and other symptoms of post-concussion syndrome, but the symptoms have diminished. He is unlikely to be ready to play when the Angels return home Friday.

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