For Now, Fielder’s Slump Not a Concern


There could come a point, if his slump continues, when Cecil Fielder’s struggles go from being another notorious slow start for the designated hitter to a major problem for the Angels.

That point has not arrived. “At least 150-200 at-bats,” Manager Terry Collins said Friday, when asked his benchmark for making such a determination. “He’s hit early the last two days, he’s looking at films. Any time you get yourself into a habit, good or bad, it takes time to get out of it.”

Fielder’s bat speed has been good, but he has been just missing pitches he usually crushes. There are many components to his motion-filled swing, and his timing has been off. He’s also fished for too many breaking balls outside the strike zone.


The results have been unsightly: Fielder has only four hits in his last 39 at-bats after Friday night’s game against Tampa Bay and his .196 average (9 for 46), zero homers and four runs batted in have left a gaping hole in the No. 5 spot.

“He’s shown he has bat speed and can still hit, but these power guys can be streaky, and timing is a huge issue with him,” General Manager Bill Bavasi said. “It doesn’t happen overnight.”

This is not unchartered territory for Fielder--he is a career .239 hitter in April--so he’s not about to panic.

“It helps knowing that I’ve gone through this before and that it’s not a 13-game season,” Fielder said. “I can’t go up there with a defensive frame of mind. I’ve got to be aggressive and stay patient.”

Fielder’s goal is not to go four for five or hit two home runs in a game, though that would help. He just wants to string together quality at-bats, like his sixth-inning effort Friday night when he singled to center.

“All I can do is go up with a positive attitude, take good swings and take my walks,” Fielder said. “I can’t get over-anxious, and I have been at times. If I have a quality at-bat every time--not a hit every time--I’ll have the opportunity to get myself normal. If I don’t, the rut deepens.”



Nothing is official, but it appears the Angels will make up two games against the Yankees by squeezing five games into a four-day span in New York Aug. 24-27.

Both teams have Monday, Aug. 24 and Monday, Aug. 31 off, but the second date falls between stops in Boston and Cleveland for the Angels. Tim Salmon, Angel player representative, said he has talked with Yankee player rep David Cone, and they agreed they’d rather not lose both off days. So they’ll likely play Aug. 24 and turn one of the next three games into a doubleheader.

“The only question is whether it’s a day-night doubleheader or a regular doubleheader,” Salmon said. “I think this is best for both sides. We’d rather do that than fly back through another city on an offday.”


Catcher Todd Greene, on the disabled list since late March, threw from 120 feet for 15 minutes for the second consecutive day Friday and reported no pain in his right shoulder. He will likely report to extended spring training camp in Arizona before beginning a minor league rehabilitation assignment. “I’m shooting for around May 1, but I’m not going to rush to meet that,” Greene said. “It is reachable, though.” . . . The Angels Friday agreed to terms on a minor league contract with reliever Mike Butcher, who played for Anaheim from 1992-95. Butcher will report to triple-A Vancouver. . . . Troy Glaus watch: The third baseman homered again Thursday night, giving him 10 homers and 24 RBIs in 14 games for double-A Midland.





Edison Field, 7 p.m.

TV--Fox Sports West. Radio--KRLA (1110), XPRS (1090)

* Update--Devil Ray third baseman Wade Boggs, who left Thursday night’s game because of a strained right calf, was put on the disabled list. It has been seven days since Dickson last pitched, the two postponements in New York this week throwing his schedule off. Though the right-hander has given up 12 earned runs on 13 hits, including three homers, in 9 2/3 innings of his first two starts, both against a hot Cleveland Indian team, Dickson called his second start “a 180-degree turn” from his first start. Alvarez is seeking his third straight win after losing the first game in Devil Ray history to Detroit March 31.