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Angels' Woe: No Mo For 6 Months

Anaheim Angels slugger Mo Vaughn will miss at least half the upcoming season because of a ruptured tendon in his left arm.

The 33-year-old Vaughn, who hit .272 with 36 homers and 117 RBIs in a career-high 161 games last season, will undergo surgery Feb. 6 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., to repair a distal biceps tendon rupture.

"Today I learned that the pain in my arm that I've experienced the past six months requires surgery," the first baseman said Wednesday in a news release. "As you can imagine, I'm deeply disappointed with the news. Last season, the Angels exceeded many expectations and my teammates and I believe this year will be even better. I will be there for this team any way I can in 2001."

Vauhn's surgery will be performed by Dr. Bernard Morrey, and rehabilitation is expected to take a minimum of six months, or possibly longer depending on the surgical findings, the Angels said.

Vaughn, who signed a six-year, $80 million contract with the Angels in November 1998, was recently referred to Dr. Morrey by Dr. Lewis Yocum, the team's medical director who will assist during the surgery.

"Certainly this is a setback for us," Angels general manager Bill Stoneman said. "But we'll push forward and make some adjustments. We have a very talented and hard-working team of players and staff that showed its resilience last season. I'm confident they'll display that ability in 2001. Our concern at the present is for a successful surgery and recovery for Mo."

The Angels finished 82-80 and in third place in the AL West last season, 9 1/2 games behind first-place Oakland.

Vaughn played six full seasons and parts of two others with the Boston Red Sox before joining the Angels. He has a lifetime batting average of .298 with 250 doubles, 10 triples, 299 homers and 977 RBIs in 1,346 games.

A resident of Easton, Mass., Vaughn was the AL's Most Valuable Player in 1995, when he hit .300 with 39 homers and a league-leading 126 RBIs.

He hit .326 with career-high totals of 44 homers and 143 RBIs in 1996; .315 with 35 homers and 95 RBIs in 1997, and a career-high .337 with 40 homers and 115 RBIs in 1998.

Vaughn sustained a sprained ankle in the first inning of his first game with the Angels in April 1999 and was slowed the rest of the season, but still hit .281 with 33 homers and 108 RBIs.

Darin Erstad is a possible replacement at first base for Vaughn, but that would leave a vacant spot in the outfield. Another possibility is Scott Spiezio.

The signing of slugger Jose Canseco to a minor league contract Tuesday looms even larger for the Angels in the wake of Wednesday's news.

Canseco has hit 446 career homers including 46 for Toronto in 1998.

"Right now, I'm completely healthy," Canseco said Tuesday night. "That's been my demon, staying healthy."

Health permitting, Canseco figures to serve as the Angels' primary designated hitter.

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