ARLINGTON, Texas -- Apparently at an impasse with Fernando Valenzuela over the time he needed to pitch himself back into shape, the California Angels placed him on waivers yesterday for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release.
However, they did invite him to pitch for the Class AAA Edmonton Trappers if he clears waivers and doesn't sign with another club.
Valenzuela was placed on the disabled list June 13 after a heart abnormality was detected in two tests. The condition was later ++ diagnosed as "crimping" in an artery leading to his heart, and medication was prescribed to alleviate the problem. He was given medical clearance to resume pitching Monday, but didn't work out with the club.
Angels pitching coach Marcel Lachemann said he had formulated a 30-day plan for Valenzuela that included having Valenzuela start several games for Edmonton. However, it is believed that Valenzuela and his agents wanted him to be sent out on rehabilitation assignment, which would require the Angels to decide on his progress after 20 days rather than 30.
"I don't know that it [Valenzuela's pitching ability] is not there, but I don't think it can be done over a short period of time," Lachemann said. "He had to take it on the 30-day schedule to make it work."
Valenzuela, 30, was 0-2 with a 12.15 ERA in two starts. He drew a crowd of 49,977 for his Angels debut, a 5-0 loss to the Detroit Tigers on June 7, and a crowd of 32,515 for what might be his finale, an 8-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on June 12.
Tony DeMarco, one of Valenzuela's agents, declined to answer when asked if Valenzuela would accept an assignment to Edmonton.
The Angels signed Valenzuela to a minor-league contract after he was released by the Los Angeles Dodgers in March, and signed him to a major-league contract June 4. If he is not claimed on waivers, the Angels must pay him $300,000.
Valenzuela's best season was 1981, when he was the National League's Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award winner.