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ANGELS NOTEBOOK: WEAVER TALKS SEEM DEAD AGAIN.

Byline: Gabe Lacques Staff Writer

ANAHEIM - Negotiations to sign first-round draft pick Jered Weaver heated up and then fizzled again, as agent Scott Boras cut the asking price for the Long Beach State All-American, but not enough to meet the Angels' liking just five days before the club loses the rights to sign him.

Boras submitted a revised proposal to Angels general manager Bill Stoneman on Monday and Stoneman responded to it Tuesday. A published report indicated the sides were just $750,000 apart and Weaver was willing to accept a five-year, $6 million major-league contract, which would be close to the Angels' best and final offer of five years and $5.25 million.

But Wednesday, Stoneman and Angels owner Arte Moreno both said Boras' proposal was actually worth considerably more than that, and a source indicated the chasm on a minor-league contract was far larger, with the Angels sticking to $4 million and Boras seeking around $5.5 million.

With Monday's 9 p.m. deadline to sign Weaver or lose his rights looming, the Angels are still pessimistic a deal will get done.

--McPherson could be demoted: The Angels have discussed demoting third baseman Dallas McPherson to the minor leagues. McPherson has 30 strikeouts in 90 at-bats and entered Wednesday hitting .211 with three RBIs. For now, manager Mike Scioscia said, McPherson will stick around, but the leash could be short.

``The major leagues aren't just a proving ground,'' Scioscia said. ``You need production. We feel Mac has that potential. The only way we'll make a move is if it's for his benefit and ours. We're not there yet.''

--Escobar close to returning: Kelvim Escobar threw about 35 pitches in a simulated game and he and Scioscia indicated he'll be ready to return to the rotation Saturday night. But Escobar, who has a bone spur in his elbow, still sounds concerned about the spur and acknowledged that it's a ``hard decision'' on whether to opt for surgery to remove it, which would sideline him for six weeks.

Escobar will be limited to about 80 pitches Saturday.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 26, 2005
Words:347
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