Mondesi Spurns O's For Angels

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Mondesi Spurns O's For Angels

Postby Jake » Fri May 28, 2004 6:31 pm

Angels Enable Mondesi to Return to Game

By ENRIQUE ROJAS
The Associated Press
Friday, May 28, 2004; 5:15 PM

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - Outfielder Raul Mondesi has reached a deal to play for the Anaheim Angels just three weeks after walking away from the game, he told The Associated Press on Friday.

The former All-Star and Gold Glover said he got a $1.75 million contract for the rest of the season. He said he will make his debut in center field for the banged-up AL West leaders Sunday at Chicago.

"I'm very pleased with the agreement I reached with the Angels," Mondesi said.

Angels spokesman Tim Mead said he could neither confirm nor deny Mondesi's account.

The Pittsburgh Pirates recently terminated Mondesi's contract after he left them May 7 to return home to the Dominican. At the time, Mondesi said he was fearful for his family's safety as he fights a lawsuit by former major leaguer Mario Guerrero.

Mondesi cleared waivers May 21, making him a free agent. He had said that other teams were interested in signing him, including the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles.

The presence of several Dominican and other Latin players on the Angels' roster helped him make his final decision, he said.

"Jose Guillen has been my friend since childhood because we grew up together in the same town," Mondesi said. "I get along very well with Bartolo Colon, Vladimir Guerrero, Ramon Ortiz and Venezuelan Kelvim Escobar was my friend in Toronto."

Mondesi said the Angels proposed sending him to the minors to get ready, but he rejected the request. Mondesi said he plans to leave the Dominican on Saturday.

"I'm in shape. I have been training everyday in a park close to my home," he said.

The Angels began a weekend series against the White Sox with a 29-18 record, tied with Boston for the best in the majors. Anaheim has done well despite putting stars Garret Anderson, Troy Glaus, Tim Salmon and Darin Erstad on the disabled list.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia is familiar with Mondesi, a former NL Rookie of the Year. Scioscia was a coach in Los Angeles when Mondesi played for the Dodgers.

"Raul can play center field. He would create a lot more depth that we have and you'd be able to have better options with matchups," Scioscia said earlier this week. "It's something that we would welcome if it happens, but there is a lot to getting a player here."

On May 19, the Pirates cited breach of contract in ending all dealings with Mondesi. He was hitting .283 with two homers and 14 RBIs when he left.

Mondesi was paid approximately $192,000 of his $1.75 million contract before leaving, and the Pirates are not required to pay him any more. He was due a $600,000 buyout if the team did not pick up his $8 million option for 2005 but he left voluntarily.

Mondesi, 33, made $13 million last season with the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks. He is a career .276 hitter with 266 homers and 842 RBIs in 12 seasons.

In his suit, Guerrero said Mondesi promised him 1 percent of his major league earnings for helping develop his skills.

Mondesi argued he didn't meet Guerrero until his career was well advanced. A Dominican court ruled in February that Mondesi owes Guerrero about $640,000, and Mondesi is appealing.

The next hearing is scheduled for June 19.

© 2004 The Associated Press

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/ar ... May28.html
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