Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fielder Keeps Coming Up Big Nothing Light about Yankee's Hitting against Braves in Series

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fielder Keeps Coming Up Big Nothing Light about Yankee's Hitting against Braves in Series

Article excerpt

Out of uniform - or even in it - Cecil Fielder looks like one of those guys who forces all-you-can-eat diners to go out of business.

But history has shown that he has been one of baseball's best power hitters. Now, in the spotlight of the World Series, Fielder has shown dimensions of a game many didn't know he had.

Besides playing a stylish first base, Fielder has been the New York Yankees' best hitter in the Series, despite hitting no home runs. The 250-pound (that's what the book says) Fielder has sprayed hits to all fields. Fielder, who had three of the Yankees' four hits Thursday in a 1-0 win over the Atlanta Braves in Game 5 of the Series, is eight for 19 in the first five games. Six of those hits have been singles and five of the eight have been hit to either right or center field. "He's become a much better hitter in the postseason than he was during the season," said manager Joe Torre. "He's added another dimension to his game. To this, Fielder said, "I don't think that's true. The last seven years, I've done some pretty good damage." Fielder will be at his accustomed designated hitter spot tonight for Game 6 of the Series, but Torre played him at first base in Atlanta instead of Tino Martinez, who had 117 runs batted in. "I played him because he probably had the most quality at-bats in this series. He didn't get many hits early but you could see it coming," said Torre. Fielder hit 13 of his 39 home runs for the Yankees after they got him from Detroit, but he struck out 49 times in 200 at-bats. He has fanned just once in the World Series. Torre said, "When he came over, maybe he tried to do what we got him for - to hit home runs." Yankees pitcher David Cone, one of the game's better observers, said, "In the last few years, he was a different hitter in Detroit. They weren't a very good team and he had to be the show and the attraction. He was thinking homer even with two strikes. He used to be different. He leads the majors in RBI in the '90s and that is not all home runs." The Cardinals' Tony La Russa, a longtime American League manager, called Fielder "an all-round hitter. When there were men on base, he went up the middle. But, yeah, he swung for home runs because they were behind by five or six runs a lot of times in Detroit." Torre is impressed by the whole package from Fielder, 33. "He's an athlete. He's quick. He has good hands. For his size, he doesn't look like he'd move quickly," said Torre. Then there are the intangibles. "He has a presence in the dugout," said Torre. "When he came over in that trade, the players couldn't wait for him to get here. "When he came here, I went to him and told him that we needed his help in the clubhouse and I think that caused him to have a tough time at the plate in the beginning." Fielder had some big years for Detroit, including hitting 51 home runs once, but there was no postseason. …

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