Valenzuela pleased by debut

Fernando Valenzuela began his comeback last night with the California Angels' Class A team in Palm Springs, Calif., giving up four hits, three walks and one unearned run in four innings.

"I threw the fastball pretty well, kept it close to the plate," said Valenzuela, 30, released by the Los Angeles Dodgers in March and signed by the Angels on Monday. "I hadn't faced hitters for two months, so that surprised me. I was very happy with the way it went, very happy with the way I feel."


He threw 84 pitches -- 50 strikes and 34 balls.

* EXPANSION: If Denver gets a National League expansion franchise, the team should be called the Denver Bears, say the majority of people voting in a newspaper poll.


With two days left in balloting, the Rocky Mountain News said Bears leads Rockies, 492-222.

* GIANTS: All-Star outfielder Kevin Mitchell went to a hospital last night for tests on his swollen left knee.

Mitchell was out of the starting lineup because of the sore knee, which had forced him out of a game one week ago. Reds team Dr. Michael Lawhon examined him and recommended tests to determine whether Mitchell has torn something in the knee.

* REDS: The club will fly All-Star shortstop Barry Larkin to Birmingham, Ala., today to get a second opinion on the inflamed unlar nerve in his right elbow.

He said yesterday that he could fully flex the elbow for the first time since the problem developed two weeks ago.