Angels: Lee Smith, major-league baseball's career saves leader, says he will ask to be traded or retire before accepting less than a closing role. "I don't think I could help the team in a non-closing role," Smith told the Los Angeles Times. "It would be like asking [cleanup hitter] Chili Davis to hit ninth. Do you think he'd be happy with that? You'd be taking a guy out of a position he's been pretty successful in for 15 years. If I can't do the job, I wouldn't want to be here anymore." Smith, a 38-year-old right-hander who has 471 career saves, was activated Tuesday. He was placed on the disabled list April 4 because of an inflamed right knee. In Smith's absence, Troy Percival has been flawless as the closer. Percival has appeared in 10 games and hasn't allowed a run in 10 innings of work with one walk, 14 strikeouts and a big league-leading eight saves. Percival got his eighth save Wednesday night while Smith watched from the sidelines.

Athletics: Oakland has not been over .500 after 21 games since 1992 when it was 13-8. The last time the Athletics were over .500 came after a doubleheader on July 14, 1995, when they were 37-36.

Blue Jays: Joe Carter's 10-game hitting streak ended, as he went hitless for just the second time in 20 games this season.

Brewers: Mark Kiefer has allowed all five of his inherited runners to score this season. . . . Kevin Seitzer's first-inning double broke a three-game hitless streak, his first since August 1993.

Indians: Albert Belle is hitting .438 against left-handers (7-for-16) with two homers and four RBIs.

Mariners: Manager Lou Piniella said pitcher Bobby Ayala would be examined by a doctor today in Seattle as well as meet with team officials. Ayala cut his pitching hand and wrist after he put his hand through a hotel room window early Wednesday. Team officials and players refused to discuss the incident. Ayala required nine stitches at a hospital near the hotel, the Mariners said. Ayala, 26, was placed on the 15-day DL.

Rangers: Juan Gonzalez has 23 RBIs this month, tying a club record for April set by Julio Franco in 1989.

Red Sox: Mo Vaughn is still well short of the major-league record for consecutive times reaching base safely, held by Ted Williams, who reached base 16 consecutive times in 1957.

Twins: No Minnesota player had five RBIs in a game last season. Paul Molitor and Greg Myers both did it Wednesday. . . . Rich Becker is in an 0-for-24 slump and is 1-for-32 in his past 14 games.

White Sox: Second baseman Ray Durham and catcher Ron Karkovice will take part in a bone marrow drive today in memory of Michelle Carew, daughter of California hitting coach Rod Carew. The event will be at the Executive Plaza Hotel in downtown Chicago.

Yankees: Pitcher Dwight Gooden has cleared waivers, which means the Yankees could trade him. GM Bob Watson said nothing should be made of that, because players routinely are passed through waivers. Gooden (0-3, 11.48 ERA) is trying to work out his problems in the bullpen and will get another shot at starting tomorrow against the Twins. Torre will skip David Cone for one turn because the right-hander is having trouble gripping the ball. . . . New York is 0-7 when it scores three runs or less.

Pub Date: 4/26/96

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