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SPRING TRAINING NOTEBOOK : ANGELS' LEYRITZ WANTS FULL-TIME JOB.

Byline: Associated Press

Four months removed from his status as World Series hero for the New York Yankees, Jim Leyritz joined the Angels as pitchers and catchers reported to camp in Tempe, Ariz.

Looking for an opportunity to be a full-time catcher after platooning with Joe Girardi in New York, Leyritz signed with the Angels in November and will get his chance.

``I'm curious. Who knows, I might not be able to last the whole season. But I wanted the opportunity to find that out,'' said Leyritz, who hit a game-tying homer in Game 4 of last year's World Series as the Yankees rallied to beat the Atlanta Braves. ``I think if I get 400 or 500 at-bats and get a chance to play every day, my numbers will do nothing but get better. That's why I'm here, to find out.''

Leyritz will be the Angels' No. 1 catcher, with Jorge Fabergas and Todd Greene backing him up.

Only two of the Angels' 27 pitchers were not in camp Friday, and both are recovering from medical problems.

Newly acquired Todd Van Poppel isn't expected until March 1 after surgery for a herniated disk. The spring-training status of Steve Ontiveros, who underwent surgery in the offseason, is uncertain.

The full squad will begin official workouts Sunday.

Daulton back behind plate: For the second year in a row, the Philadelphia Phillies will open spring training unsure what contributions - if any - weak-kneed Darren Daulton can make.

The difference between this year and last is that the Phillies aren't going to fool around trying to make Daulton, a catcher throughout his 17-year pro career, into an outfielder.

Manager Terry Francona said that Daulton will begin spring training as a catcher and that the Phillies will use their six-week stay in Florida to see whether he is healthy enough to stay there when the season opens.

Bottom line: Baseball guaranteed itself a record low number of salary-arbitration cases when St, Louis' Donovan Osborne, Baltimore's Mike Mussina, Atlanta's Javier Lopez and Cincinnati's Bret Boone settled on Friday. Houston pitcher Darryl Kile lost, dropping players to 0-2, and Boston pitcher Aaron Sele went through with his hearing. But just four more cases remained, meaning at most seven hearings this winter.
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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 15, 1997
Words:373
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