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Glaus’ Concerns Are All in Wrist

Times Staff Writer

The Angels are worried about the condition of third baseman Troy Glaus, whose wrist injury threatens to deprive the team of its top slugger on opening day and perhaps beyond.

The Angels removed Glaus from Sunday’s lineup after pain flared within his right wrist, then sent him for X-rays Monday in the hope of ruling out serious injury. But the X-rays were inconclusive, raising the possibility of a fracture, and so the Angels directed Glaus to return to Southern California for additional tests and consultation today with Dr. Norman Zemel, a hand and wrist specialist.

If all goes well, Glaus will return to action when the Angels and Dodgers play Friday in a Freeway Series game. If not, the Angels could put Glaus on the disabled list, and he would miss at least the first 10 days of the season. In the event of a fracture, he could be sidelined for weeks.

“It’s going to be tough to fill Troy’s shoes,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “I think we have guys that can do a good job in the short term.”

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First baseman Scott Spiezio can play third, with Brad Fullmer or Shawn Wooten playing first. Benji Gil can play either position. The injury could compel the Angels to keep another infielder, Chone Figgins, on their roster.

Glaus, the World Series MVP, has led the Angels in home runs in each of the last three seasons. He experienced recurrent pain in the wrist last summer and again this spring, although the injury did not cause him to miss any games. Scioscia said the injury could help explain Glaus’ poor Cactus League statistics, which include a .214 batting average, no home runs and 16 strikeouts in 42 at-bats.

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John Lackey started on opening day at triple-A Salt Lake last year, at double-A Arkansas two years ago and at Class-A Cedar Rapids three years ago.

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“I’ve won all of ‘em,” Lackey said.

On Sunday, he’ll get the chance to win another opener. As expected, the Angels set their rotation Monday by announcing Lackey as their opening-day starter, followed in order by Mickey Callaway, Ramon Ortiz, Kevin Appier and Jarrod Washburn.

“I’m excited,” Lackey said. “But I pitched Game 7 of the World Series. After that, this is just one of 33.”

Washburn was the first pick to start the opener, but a sprained shoulder delayed his spring workouts. The Angels first want him to increase his workload -- to 75 pitches in a start today and 90 in a minor league exhibition game Sunday -- but Washburn left little doubt he would have liked to pitch the opener.

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“I’m happy for [Lackey],” Washburn said. “I have no comment further than that.”

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The Angels have targeted Aaron Sele to rejoin the rotation on or about May 1. Sele is scheduled to make five minor league rehabilitation starts, with the first for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on the weekend of April 4-6.

That could leave Callaway, on an opening-day roster for the first time, with as few as four starts to impress the Angels before Sele returns. The Angels plan to skip Callaway’s start on the second turn through the rotation, so the other starters can work on the normal four days’ rest.

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“I’m going to have to go out there and prove myself every time out to try to keep a job,” he said.

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Center fielder Darin Erstad was scratched from the lineup Monday because of lingering soreness in his surgically repaired right hand. He might play today.... Appier required 104 pitches to complete five innings in a 5-4 win over Seattle. Adam Kennedy hit his first home run of the spring.... The Angels signed right-hander John Snyder to a triple-A contract. Snyder, 28, one of four prospects traded to the Chicago White Sox for Jim Abbott in 1995, has pitched in the majors for the White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers.


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