What Angel manager Gene Mauch needs most this season is:
2) Farm Aid
3) First aid
1) Medicaid? To improve on their second-place, one-game-back finish of last season, the Angels will need to make sure that third baseman Doug DeCinces and reliever Gary Lucas have as few back problems as possible. And it would be nice, though not essential, if second baseman Rick Burleson could complete baseball's most touching comeback story.
2) Farm Aid? Last year the Angels reached down to their Edmonton farm team and came up with starter Kirk McCaskill and reliever Stewart Cliburn. This year the club, faced with its age-old old-age problem, may need hitting help.
3) First aid? Over the winter, the team waved goodby to first basemen Rod Carew, Juan Beniquez and Daryl Sconiers. Who's on first? Rookie Wally Joyner.
4) Band-Aids? If the Angels don't improve their hitting—they were last in the league in 1985 with a .251 average—they will need Band-Aids for the big boo-boos on their bats. And Reggie could use a Band-Aid for his ego, which was bruised by what he regards as ungrateful treatment by owner Gene Autry and his wife, Jackie.
There seems to be no question that California's outstanding starting rotation will receive all the aid it requires from an equally outstanding corp of relievers. Veterans Don Sutton and John Candelaria, both late-season acquisitions, join a talented trio of 25-year-olds, Mike Witt, Ron Romanick and McCaskill. Out of the pen, Donnie Moore set a club record with 31 saves last year and Cliburn was 9-3 with a 2.09 ERA. Lucas, his back willing, will lend a needed left hand.
Burleson could prove to be an inspiration if his arm doesn't blow out. He has had two rotator-cuff tears and a dislocated shoulder in the last four years. His story is the story of the Angels. If they stay healthy and keep their bats going, it will be a good season. If they don't, it's tomorrowland in Disney country.
THE ELIAS ANALYST:
Just 100 more games behind the plate will move him from 9th to 4th on alltime list.
His career fielding percentage at second (.9841) is second only to Jerry Lumpe's .9844.
Stole 11 bases, one fewer than his father had in 19 years. Dad was called "Ducky."
Has hit for a higher average in day games than in night games in nine of last 10 years.
Hit .300 or better with two outs and runners in scoring position in four of last five seasons.
Tied with Bobby Meacham for fewest extra-basehits (19) of qualifiers for AL batting title.
Four hits in 30 at bats with two outs and bases loaded since 1977.
Yearly batting averages in LIP situations since 1981: .333, .276, .221,. 188,. 136.
Second winningest pitcher born during the 1960s with 53; Fernando's first with 78.
Won only one of his last 10 starts in the '8S pennant drive, two of last 10 in '84 race.
His 672 starts are 4th on alltime list; should pass Pud Calvin (682) and Gay lord Perry (690).
Faced 97 lefthanded batters in both leagues, fanning 34 and walking none.
Why was he a secret? Former teammates include Hernandez, Sutter and Rollie Fingers.