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Report: Yankee May Play in Japan

October 8, 1997

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ New York Yankees slugger Cecil Fielder will probably play in Japan next season, Fox Sports News said Tuesday night.

Fielder, who played in Japan in 1989, became a free agent after the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs by Cleveland on Monday night.

Fox said Fielder’s representatives began contacting Japanese teams after learning the Yankees weren’t going to offer the designated hitter-first baseman a new contract.

His representatives told Fox they will talk to major league teams who are interested in Fielder, but they think the best offer will come from Japan. Fielder became a popular figure in Japan when he hit 38 homers for the Hanshin Tigers in 1989.

Fielder batted .260 with 13 homers and 61 RBIs during the regular season. He went 1-for-8 and drove in one run during the Yankees’ five-game division series against Cleveland.

Fielder was sidelined for two months this season because of a thumb injury. He has 302 homers and 940 RBIs in his 12-year major league career with Toronto, Detroit and New York.

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