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ANGELS NOTEBOOK: VLAD IS MOVED TO DH.

Byline: DOUG PADILLA Staff Writer

OAKLAND -- Vladimir Guerrero was the designated hitter Saturday, a day after he dropped a fly ball down the right-field line that went for a two-base error.

It was the 11th error of the season for Guerrero, most of any outfielder in the American League. The miscue did not lead to a run.

Guerrero had trouble while tracking down a fly ball to his left. It has happened a number of times this season, including once in a game at Cleveland earlier in the season that led to a big inning for the Indians.

``It's probably on how he gets under it and how he settled to the ball,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``If you're not running properly, if you're compensating, the ball might jump on you, and I think we're dealing with a little bit of that.''

Guerrero's knees have been bothering him all season, and he was moving gingerly in the outfield Friday, especially after the error. He had ice packs on bothknees after Friday's game.

``His legs have played on that surface in Montreal that they call Astroturf, but it might as well have been cement,'' Scioscia said of the 6(bul) seasons Guerrero played with the Expos. ``That certainly has a cumulative effect on how your legs will feel. It's just the wear and tear. Every player goes through it, and with Vlad I feel that it's affected a little bit by his outfield play.''

Scioscia said Guerrero's knees have been ``cranky'' this season, but the problem is not bad enough to require an arthroscopic procedure in the offseason.

``I think we could maintain it with a day off here or there more next year, just to let him catch his breath so his legs stay at a functional level,'' Scioscia said.

Guerrero has been the DH 26 times this season and started in right field 126 times.

Extended outing: Scot Shields' 2 2/3-inning outing Friday night was his longest of the season, but Scioscia said his setup man actually was available to work Saturday. But Shields was not used.

The extended outing was directly related to the circumstance of needing a victory so the A's would not move to within a game of clinching the American League West. The A's won anyway.

Not an MVP performance: The A's are pushing slugger Frank Thomas for MVP with placards that read ``Big Hurt MVP.'' They Angels are doing their best to quash that campaign.

Thomas has no hits in nineofficial trips to the plate in this series, with five strikeouts.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 24, 2006
Words:429
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