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Angels Upbeat Despite Johnson Loss

December 1, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Surprisingly, there was no expression of disappointment from the Anaheim Angels over Randy Johnson’s decision to sign with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday.

Many thought the Angels had the inside track, especially after they signed first baseman Mo Vaughn last week and Vaughn telephoned Johnson in an attempt to convince him to come to Anaheim.

``We put out a full-court press for two players,″ Angels spokesman Tim Mead said. ``We signed one, and we feel good about our efforts with the other. In this game, if you hit .500, you’re very successful. If we didn’t get him, at least it’s good he’s in the other league.″

Johnson, who got a $52.4 million, four-year deal, opted for the Diamondbacks because he wants to play close to home _ he lives in Paradise Valley, Ariz. _ and he believes Arizona is making moves to become a contender in the NL West.

``There’s nothing wrong with finishing second to family,″ Mead said. ``I think we had a legitimate shot to sign Randy Johnson, I think our players felt that. Certainly, (general manager) Billy (Bavasi) did. Randy thought a lot about it.

``Honestly, I think it’s been so long since we’ve been in the position of being one of the key players, the fact we got Mo was terrific. Randy Johnson would have been a thick icing on the cake. Mo was our cake.″

Mead said the Angels aren’t finished trying to make improvements.

``We’ve got other things to take care of,″ he said, refusing to comment further.

It’s been speculated the Angels might seek to trade outfielders Jim Edmonds or Garret Anderson for pitching help. They were certainly deficient on the mound as the Texas Rangers overtook them to win the AL West in September.

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