Scioscia Eager to Get Back in Dugout

Times Staff Writer

Manager Mike Scioscia served the last game of his three-game suspension for his role in Wednesday night's fracas-filled game in Texas and will return to the Angels bench -- for him, not a minute too soon -- for today's series finale against Seattle.

"It's not like you're sitting in there relaxing and watching a ballgame," said Scioscia, who has been tethered to his office while bench coach Ron Roenicke and pitching coach Bud Black ran the team.

"I've been in there giving signs, yelling at the TV every once in a while, or hugging it. I've been trying to restrict my nervous eating, but that's been another challenge."

The toughest thing about watching games from his office?

"When you talk to people on TV, I'm finding out they don't answer."

Scioscia got essentially the same response from Major League Baseball when he complained about the pitch Rangers right-hander Adam Eaton threw behind Juan Rivera's back on Aug. 6, the flashpoint for what happened in Texas on Wednesday.

Scioscia actually phoned Bob Watson, baseball's vice president for on-field operations, the next day and requested Eaton be suspended, but Watson maintained Eaton's immediate ejection was punishment enough.

The next time the teams met, Tuesday in Texas, Vicente Padilla hit Vladimir Guerrero and Rivera with pitches, and Padilla and Wes Littleton buzzed pitches under Guerrero's chin. The Angels retaliated Wednesday, a benches-clearing brawl broke out, and eight members of the teams (five on the Angels' side) were suspended a combined 31 games.

"I was infuriated with Eaton's comments in the paper" after the Aug. 6 game "and talked to Watson about them," Scioscia said. "Safe to say, we were disappointed nothing happened."

Had Eaton been suspended immediately, Scioscia said, Padilla wouldn't have had "free rein" to throw at Angels hitters, and Wednesday's retaliation pitches and brawl could have been prevented.

"There's got to be something done about this," Scioscia said. "It's like if you parachute out of a plane -- there's no halfway. If you're going to tell us not to retaliate, which I believe in, and the league takes care of it, beautiful. Either Bob Watson needs the tools to put down penalties that act as a deterrent, or you're going to go back to the bean-ball wars of 50 years ago."


Darin Erstad continued to progress in his rehabilitation program, running from home to first, from first to third, and fielding grounders and pop flies to his left and right, reporting no setbacks in his inflamed right ankle joint.

But Erstad hasn't come close to running at full speed yet, and until he does -- he's shooting for the end of this week -- the first baseman won't know if he'll be able to return in September.

"I'm going to get after it hard next week and simulate a lot of game situations," Erstad said. "I'm going to get as close to full speed as I can and see how it reacts. Hopefully, it goes well."


The Angels, their bullpen taxed by Kevin Gregg's suspension and the heavy workloads of closer Francisco Rodriguez and setup man Scot Shields, recalled reliever Greg Jones from triple-A Salt Lake and placed outfielder Curtis Pride on the 15-day disabled list because of tightness in his lower back.

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