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No word from Fielder or Yankees as deadline approaches

March 16, 1997

Cecil Fielder withdrew his trade demand at 11:59 p.m. EST Saturday _ one minute before the deadline _ and decided to remain with the New York Yankees and keep his $7.2 million salary rather than become a free agent.

Fielder, worried about playing time this year and wanting a contract extension, filed the trade demand following the World Series _ a right given to veterans dealt during multiyear contracts.

Because the Yankees said they couldn’t work out a trade, Fielder would have become a free agent if he hadn’t withdrawn the demand Saturday.

``It’s good to get this out of the way, one way or another,″ he said earlier in the day.

Fielder hit a total of 39 home runs with 117 RBIs for Detroit and New York last year. His agent, Bob Gilhooley, declined comment Saturday night.

Mariners

Randy Johnson struck out four in three-plus innings, his first appearance since Tuesday, when he hit San Francisco’s J.T. Snow in the face with a pitch, fracturing his eye socket.

Johnson, recovering from surgery last September to repair a herniated disk in his back, threw 54 pitches. The 1995 AL Cy Young Award winner allowed three runs, four hits and two walks, leaving with two men on base after reaching his pitch limit.

Seattle led 4-1 at time time, and Bob Wolcott allowed both runners in.

``In the fourth inning, I didn’t feel like I was getting tired, but according to (the trainers), it was evident to them that I was,″ Johnson said. ``And I probably was. But I was very happy with my outing today.″

Braves

Third baseman Chipper Jones, who hadn’t played in almost a week, left Saturday’s game in the sixth inning after being hit by a pitch. Batting left-handed, Jones was hit on the left foot on a slider down and in by Montreal’s Ugueth Urbina.

``It feels better already,″ Jones said while sitting in manager Bobby Cox’ office watching an NCAA tournament game, his ankle wrapped with ice. ``I should be able to play tomorrow.″

Left-hander Denny Neagle was scratched from his scheduled start Saturday morning. He has been bothered by a sore right shoulder most of the spring and had a cortisone shot Thursday. He is expected to make his next start Friday, but he could be inserted into the rotation earlier if he’s ready.

Reds

Cincinnati second baseman Bret Boone left Saturday’s split-squad game against Kansas City and was taken to Tampa for X-rays after he jammed a thumb while fielding a Bob Hamelin bouncer in the fourth.

The X-rays found no fracture, and Boone is not expected to miss much time.

Athletics

Oakland was without Mark McGwire for the third straight game Saturday. McGwire has been bothered by a stiff back.

Marlins

Tests done Friday revealed no injury to Jay Powell’s pitching arm. He was hoping doctors could explain the drop in velocity that has plagued him this spring.

Powell was topping out at between 93 and 95 mph before he began to lose velocity last season. This spring, he has struggled to get past 90.

``You don’t just go to sleep one night and wake up the next morning and lose eight mph,″ he said. ``But it’s part of baseball. It’s just a minor little hurdle I’ll have to get past.″

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