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Angels Drop Cecil Fielder


Big Daddy's career with the Anaheim Angels is over, barely four months after it began.

Cecil Fielder, one of baseball's most prolific home-run hitters from 1990-96, was designated for assignment by the Angels following their 6-5 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday.

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To replace Fielder on their roster, the Angels activated first baseman-outfielder Todd Greene from the 60-day disabled list.

Fielder, 34, signed a $2.8 million, one-year contract with the Angels last winter, and hit .241 with 17 homers and 68 RBI in 103 games. He was tied with Darin Erstad for the team lead in RBIs.

"It's definitely a disappointing day," Fielder said. "I feel I could still help this team win. I'm going to kick back for a couple days and see what happens."

Fielder said he plans to continue playing.

"Oh, without a doubt," he said. "I've still got the fire in me to play, I've still got the ability to play and help someone win."

Fielder hadn't played since last Saturday after going 2-for-16 in the first five games of a nine-game homestand.

"He'll hook on with somebody, and he'll help somebody," Angels pitcher Chuck Finley said. "We're sad to see Cecil go because he's such a good person. He did a lot of good things for this team."

Fielder's playing time diminished after the Angels recalled rookie third baseman Troy Glaus from the minors last Thursday.

Fielder hit 28 or more homers in seven straight seasons before falling off to 13 with the New York Yankees last season. He was limited to 98 games because he fractured and tore a ligament in his right thumb during a headfirst dive into home plate on July 15, 1997.

After beginning his big-league career with two-plus mediocre seasons with Toronto, Fielder hit .302 with 38 homers and 81 RBI in 106 games for Hanshin of the Japanese Central League in 1989.

He then signed as a free agent with the Detroit Tigers, and was an immediate success, hitting .277 with 51 homers and 132 RI in 1990 and .261 with 44 homers and 133 RBI in 1991.

Fielder hit 258 homers and drove in 805 runs between 1990 and 1996. All but 13 of the homers and 37 of the RBI came while he was playing for the Tigers. He was traded to the Yankees on July 31, 1996, and helped them win the World Series that year by hitting .391 against the Atlanta Braves.

After signing with the Angels, Fielder vowed to return to his previous form, but it didn't happen.

Twenty-nine of his RBI came in June, when the Angels went 22-6. His season average was just .169 with two outs and runners in scoring position.

"It was real hard," Angels manager Terry Collins said. "Any time you make a decision to move one of the great players in the game, it's not easy. We just decided to move in another direction. Like I told him, we just didn't feel we were getting the production we needed to have. We haven't been scoring runs, so I thought we'd go with more speed."

"I really believe he's going to be signed soon. I wouldn't be surprised to see him playing in the playoffs, because he's a big-time player."

Collins said Greene will start in left field Friday night when the Angels open a road trip against the Chicago White Sox.

Greene, 26, was placed on the 15-day disabled list March 19 to recover from offseason surgery on his right shoulder, and later transferred to the 60-day list.

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