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AROUND THE MAJORS

Angels Let Fullmer Go

October 16, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

The Angels released designated hitter Brad Fullmer on Wednesday, an acknowledgment that they have no plans to return Tim Salmon to right field.

When Fullmer tore up his knee in June, Salmon replaced him as the Angels' primary designated hitter. Although Fullmer also can play first base, a position vacant in Anaheim, the Angels do not believe he has the defensive skills to play there full time.

Fullmer, 28, hit .306 in 63 games, with nine home runs and 35 runs batted in. He took a pay cut from $3.75 million to $1 million to return to the Angels.

General Manager Bill Stoneman said he believed Fullmer would be fully recovered from knee surgery by spring training. He said he would consider extending Fullmer a minor league contract and invitation to training camp if he cannot find work elsewhere. However, because he is a released player, the Angels cannot return him to their major league roster before May 1.

"It's remote he'd be back here," Stoneman said, "because there would be fewer DH opportunities for him."

Fullmer would have been eligible for arbitration, so the Angels could have retained his rights through Dec. 20. Stoneman said he acted now so Fullmer could join the rest of the free-agent class next month.

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Stoneman said he expected to reach agreement with pitching coach Bud Black on a 2004 contract shortly. All the other coaches are signed for next season.

-- Bill Shaikin

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Colorado Rockie right fielder Larry Walker underwent surgery on his non-throwing shoulder and for torn cartilage in his knee. He is expected to recover in time for next season, the team said. ... Houston Astro owner Drayton McLane expects to know by Friday whether he will lose General Manager Gerry Hunsicker to the New York Mets. McLane gave permission last week for the two sides to talk even though Hunsicker has one year left on his contract. The Mets fired general manager Steve Phillips in June. ... Right-hander Luke Prokopec became a free agent by rejecting an outright assignment to the Cincinnati Reds' farm system. The Reds get nothing in return for the $50,000 they paid when they claimed Prokopec off the Dodgers' roster in the Rule 5 draft in December. ... Former Oriole second baseman and current Milwaukee bench coach Rich Dauer interviewed for Baltimore's manager's position. Dauer joins Eddie Murray and Sam Perlozzo as candidates for the job left open by Mike Hargrove's firing.

From Associated Press

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