The California Angels, who finished last in the American League West even with three 18-game winners, moved to improve their offense yesterday by hiring Rod Carew as their hitting instructor.
Carew, a seven-time AL batting champion inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer, finished his career with the Angels in 1985 and said he felt bitter toward the team.
Carew wasn't offered a contract in 1986 as the Angels decided to go with Wally Joyner at first base. Joyner filed for free agency last week and might not return to the team next season.
Also hired yesterday to work under manager Buck Rodgers were former Kansas City Royals manager John Wathan and ex-Montreal Expos bullpen coach Ken Macha.
* Reliever Steve Howe agreed to a one-year, $600,000 contract with the New York Yankees, and six players filed for free agency to increase the total to 86.
Howe, signed by the Yankees last year after five suspensions caused by drug and alcohol problems, had an unusual option in his 1991 deal. The Yankees had until yesterday to exercise an option that could have sent him into salary arbitration.
The six players filing yesterday were Boston Red Sox second baseman Steve Lyons, Detroit Tigers outfielder Lloyd Moseby, Minnesota Twins outfielder Dan Gladden, Cincinnati Reds TTC outfielders Carmelo Martinez and Herm Winningham and Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Curtis Wilkerson.
Eighteen more players are eligible to file by Monday's deadline. The next day, teams can begin making offers.