Mondesi just 4-of-34 for Angels

Updated: July 30, 2004, 9:18 PM ET
Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Anaheim Angels terminated Raul Mondesi's contract Friday after the enigmatic outfielder failed to show up for another rehabilitation appointment in nearby Orange.

Mondesi, 34, was placed on the disabled list because of a torn right quadriceps just 11 days after signing as a free agent with the injury-riddled Angels. The contract was to pay him $1.75 million for the rest of the season.

"Enough was enough," said general manager Bill Stoneman, adding that Mondesi also was a no-show on Monday. "The decision was made because he had an obligation to show up for rehab, the same as he'd be obligated to show up here if he weren't injured.

"This isn't the first time, and we just reached the point where we realized that his commitment wasn't at the same level as ours was."

Mondesi played only eight games with Anaheim, going 4-for-34. In his fourth game with the team, the two-time Gold Glove winner threw out a runner at the plate and hit a home run. The next night, he robbed Cleveland's Alex Escobar of a homer.

Mondesi's last game was a 17-inning affair against Milwaukee on June 8 at Angel Stadium, when he hurt himself while running out a grounder in the fifth and kept playing until he grounded out for the final out of Anaheim's 1-0 loss.

Stoneman and manager Mike Scioscia have tried numerous times to reach Mondesi on the phone the past several weeks, but never received any return calls and have only been in contact with his agent.

"An injury like the one Raul sustained takes an incredible amount of commitment to be able to get back and play again. Obviously, he wasn't going to follow up on that," Scioscia said. "There was a need here for Raul's talents, but I know Mondi's got a lot of issues and things going on in his life right now."

Mondesi began this season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who terminated his contract on May 19 -- just 12 days after he left the Bucs to return to his native Dominican Republic and fight a

lawsuit.

At the time, Mondesi claimed he was fearful for his family's safety. He was contesting a lawsuit by former major leaguer Mario Guerrero, who said Mondesi promised him 1 percent of his major league earnings for helping develop his skills.

The New York Yankees dealt him to the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 29, 2003, two days after he left the Yankees' clubhouse during a game at Fenway Park and missed the team's charter flight to Anaheim.

Mondesi was upset manager Joe Torre replaced him with a pinch hitter, then criticized the two-time AL manager of the year for not treating him with respect. Torre later received a letter of apology from Mondesi.

Now, it seems he owes one to the Angels.

"It's very disappointing, from the club's standpoint," Stoneman said. "We did some background on him and actually got some favorable recommendations. We knew about the issues in the past, but more recently, it appeared that he was a guy who was a welcomed guy in Arizona and Pittsburgh. Why he's reacted this way, I really couldn't tell you."

Mondesi began his major league career in 1993 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and was NL rookie of the year the following season.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press