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Series moved to Milwaukee

Times Staff Writer

MILWAUKEE -- Home is where the heat is, and for the Cleveland Indians it will be Miller Park, the Milwaukee Brewers’ retractable-roofed, climate-controlled stadium, where they will play the Angels today in their unofficial 2007 home opener.

After four days of snow and cold weather turned Jacobs Field into an unplayable mess, wiping out Cleveland’s four-game series against Seattle, Major League Baseball officials on Monday moved this week’s three-game Angels-Indians series from Cleveland to Milwaukee.

After initially deciding to move the series to Anaheim, officials looked into several domed or retractable-roofed stadiums closer to Cleveland. The Minnesota Twins are playing the New York Yankees in the Metrodome, so MLB turned to Milwaukee, “which was close and available,” MLB spokesman Mike Teevan said.

The Angels, who were not looking forward to playing in the freezing temperatures and snow and rain of Cleveland, had no objections to the neutral site.

“If it’s a baseball field and it’s playable, I’m happy to get these games in,” said Manager Mike Scioscia, whose Angels last visited Miller Park for a 2003 interleague series. “This was our only trip to Cleveland, and we can absorb some doubleheaders, but if you lose a whole series, it really puts you in a bind to play that many games in a short period of time. I’m glad to get them in.”

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It amounted to a minor inconvenience for the Angels, who were set to fly to Cleveland late Monday morning before diverting to Milwaukee, a switch that, thanks to Indians traveling secretary Mike Seghi’s help and some vacant hotel rooms in Milwaukee, took Angels traveling secretary Tom Taylor less than two hours to engineer.

“The biggest advantage was I had a plane and we were ready to go somewhere, all we had to do was change the flight plan from Cleveland to Milwaukee,” Taylor said. “We called the bus and truck companies, booked the rooms and canceled everything in Cleveland. We’re lucky there wasn’t anything big going on in Milwaukee that would have taken up all the hotel rooms. It went really smooth.”

By playing in Milwaukee, the Angels and Indians are spared from cross-country flights Thursday night, with the Angels scheduled to play in Boston on Friday and the Indians scheduled to return to Cleveland.

Although baseball’s collective bargaining agreement forbids trips from the West Coast to the East Coast without a day off in between, Teevan said the players’ association did not object to moving the series to Anaheim.

“At one point, we were planning on playing the games in Anaheim,” Teevan said. “When the Milwaukee scenario became viable, we went ahead with that.”

This marks the first time weather has forced a series to be moved since Florida played Montreal in Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field on Sept. 13-14, 2004, because of Hurricane Ivan.

“Nobody can really make an argument about an unfair competitive edge this way,” said Tim Mead, Angels vice president of communications. “We were concerned with how it would be viewed by the other teams in the division. Would it be unfair for us to have three more home games?” The Angels also had an advocate in Rich Schlesinger, the former vice president of legal affairs for the Angels who is now executive vice president for business for the Brewers. The Brewers will charge a flat ticket price of $10, and seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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Third baseman Chone Figgins, who suffered fractures on the tips of the index and middle fingers of his right hand while fielding a grounder in late March, was examined and cleared to start range-of-motion exercises. Figgins may start throwing as early as the end of this week.... Vladimir Guerrero, who hit .440 (11 for 25) in the Angels’ first seven games, with three home runs and 10 runs batted in, was selected American League co-player of the week with New York’s Alex Rodriguez.

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Times staff writer Bill Shaikin contributed to this report.

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com


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