Darren Oliver got this question from his wife the other day: "Hey, honey, are you going to play again next year?"
The Angels' left-handed reliever knew better than to tell his wife he had made that decision by himself. His wife and two sons have returned home to Texas for the start of the school year and the football season, and he'll sit down with the family this fall to discuss whether to extend his professional career into a fourth decade.
"I'm leaning more toward playing than retiring," Oliver said. "We'll make a decision in the off-season, hopefully after we win the World Series."
After a long career as a starter, Oliver has successfully reinvented himself as a reliever, a role that can lend itself to pitching well beyond age 40.
"That's not going to happen," said Oliver, who turns 39 in October. "There comes a time when you have to be home. There comes a time when you have to be a husband and father.
"As much as I enjoy playing baseball, I enjoy being around them more."
Oliver has a 2.80 earned-run average, the lowest on the Angels' staff. He got a raise from $2 million last year to $3.665 million this year, and at that rate the Angels might have to pay $5 million to secure his rights in salary arbitration.
The Angels have committed $19.6 million to three relievers next season: $9 million to closer Brian Fuentes, $5.35 million to Scot Shields and $5.25 million to the since-released Justin Speier.
The Texas Rangers selected Oliver in the third round of the 1988 draft, after picking infielder Monty Fariss in the first round and outfielder Tim Morrow in the second.
Fariss hit four home runs in a brief major league career that ended in 1993; Morrow never made the majors.
West Coast style
Chone Figgins thought he had stolen home in the seventh inning Wednesday.
He had not seen third base umpire Chad Fairchild call time out, which nullified the steal. Too bad, for it could have been replayed on ESPN all night.
Or not, Figgins said.
"They wouldn't have put it on anyway," he said with a smile. "You know, West Coast."
Vladimir Guerrero singled in the fifth inning for his 1,000th hit as an Angel.
He is the eighth player to collect 1,000 hits for the Angels, a milestone reached by Figgins this month.
The Angels' top six in career hits: Garret Anderson (2,368), Tim Salmon (1,674), Brian Downing (1,588), Darin Erstad (1,505), Jim Fregosi (1,408) and Bobby Grich (1,103).
Downing and Chuck Finley will be inducted into the Angels' Hall of Fame tonight, in a ceremony scheduled for 6:55. The start of the game will be delayed until 7:25.
Downing and Finley join Grich, Fregosi, Don Baylor, Rod Carew, Nolan Ryan and Jimmie Reese in the Angels' Hall of Fame. Grich, Carew and Fregosi are scheduled to be in attendance.
Finley is the Angels' all-time leader in victories and is second to Ryan in strikeouts.
Downing ranks among the top three in at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, home runs and runs batted in.
The Angels had not inducted anyone into their hall of fame since 1995, but the club plans to restore induction ceremonies on a regular basis.
"Our intent is to make this an annual event," club spokesman Tim Mead said.