Fernando Valenzuela, who is on the California Angels disabled list because of possible cardiac problems, had tests four years ago that revealed heart irregularities, it was reported Saturday.
The left-handed pitcher had a routine treadmill test in September 1987 that showed irregularity in his heart rate, the Orange County Register reported.Valenzuela remained on the active list with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and his treadmill tests from 1987 to September 1990 showed a consistent heart rate.
However, before he joined the Angels on June 4, Valenzuela had a routine electrocardiogram that revealed some abnormalities, said team physician Jules Rasinski.
Angels spokesman Tim Mead said the physical found "possible cardiac changes" in Valenzuela.
The 30-year-old left-hander was still signed to a one-year contract with an option for 1992. He started two games but lost both, giving up nine earned runs in less than seven innings.
On Thursday, he went to St. Joseph's Hospital in Orange to have a treadmill-thallium scan.
The radioactive element thallium was injected into the pitcher's circulatory system to detect any blockages in the arteries supplying blood to his heart.
"The exam . . . showed an abnormal cardiogram," Mead said, adding further testing was to be done immediately.
The Angels immediately placed Valenzuela on the 15-day disabled list and said further testing would determine why abnormal blood flow was detected in the area of his heart.
"The most important thing right now is Fernando," said club President Richard Brown.
"The main thing is, we're worried about his health first, then we can worry about him pitching."
Valenzuela said he feels in good shape.
"I feel fine; I'm just waiting," Valenzuela said Friday. "I'm not scared."
Valenzuela's contract guarantees him $300,000 but is worth up to $1 million with incentives.
To fill Valenzuela's vacancy on the roster, the Angels are expected to activate left-hander Floyd Bannister, who has been on the disabled list with a sore left bicep.
Valenzuela's spot in the rotation will probably be given to rookie right-hander Joe Grahe, while Bannister returns to his previous role as a long reliever.