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Alfonzo Wants Regular Playing Time

Times Staff Writer

The Angels don’t have an everyday spot available for Edgardo Alfonzo, who considers himself an everyday player.

“That’s my thinking,” he said. “I’m still a young guy. I would like to play every day.”

Alfonzo, 32, joined the Angels in December after being traded from the San Francisco Giants for outfielder Steve Finley. He started last season as the Giants’ third baseman and was hitting .306 when he strained his quadriceps in June.

He returned a month later, but by then Pedro Feliz played extensively at third base. Alfonzo hit .240 the rest of the season. He said he asked the Giants to trade him “somewhere where they can trust me, believe in me and have faith in me.”

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He led Venezuela by hitting .313 in the World Baseball Classic, then returned to the Angels and had three hits in his first five at-bats. Citing the need to stay positive, he said he wouldn’t discuss how he might react if he doesn’t play regularly.

In his first three appearances, the Angels scheduled Alfonzo once at third base, once at second and once at first, a position he has never played in the majors. He could also see time at designated hitter.

“We want to maximize his playing time,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “This guy is a professional hitter when he’s right.”

His chance for regular time could depend on the health of center fielder Darin Erstad, who said Sunday that X-rays last week revealed a bone spur in his right foot. Erstad said doctors told him the condition would not require surgery and should not lessen his playing time.

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If Erstad cannot play, the Angels would move Chone Figgins to center field and could use Alfonzo or Dallas McPherson at third base.

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Rookie Kendry Morales, who defected from Cuba two years ago, said he would be rooting for Cuba in tonight’s WBC championship.

“When you win in Cuba, you feel everybody, the whole country, how much they support you,” he said. “They’re not professionals, you have to remember. It’s amateur baseball. We all feel very proud.

“I’m going to celebrate. I’m not there any more, but I know how it feels. They’re my friends.”

Morales declined to comment when asked whether he believed any Cuban players might try to defect. He cited second baseman Yulieski Gourriel and pitcher Pedro Lazo among a handful of Cubans he considers to have major league ability.

“There are some quality players, but very few could play here,” Morales said.

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The Angels and designated hitter Tim Salmon have agreed to waive the deadline that would have required the club to add him to the major league roster by Wednesday or release him, General Manager Bill Stoneman said. Salmon and Robb Quinlan appear ahead of McPherson and Morales for the final two spots among position players.... The Angels were rained out Sunday. They’re off today, but John Lackey and Francisco Rodriguez will pitch in minor league camp to stay sharp.... The Angels sent second baseman Howie Kendrick, shortstop Erick Aybar, outfielder Tommy Murphy, catcher Ryan Budde and pitchers Jonathan Rouwenhorst, Dustin Moseley and Nate Bland to minor league camp.


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