Angels designate disgruntled DH Hillenbrand for assignment
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Shea Hillenbrand wants out and the Los Angeles Angels are granting his wish.
The team told Hillenbrand after Wednesday's 1-0 loss to Kansas City that he will be designated for assignment Friday, meaning the Angels have 10 days to trade, release or demote him to the minors.
"It's a good thing because I'm at the point in my career where I need to play on a daily basis. That's where I've been and why I've had the success I've had," he said.
"I'm not a bench player or someone that doesn't have an opportunity to help a team on a daily basis because I've proven that I'm very capable of doing that."
The designated hitter, who turns 32 next month, signed with the Angels as a free agent in December. He split last season between Toronto and San Francisco, where he was an everyday player. He also was a regular during prior stints in Arizona and Boston.
But Hillenbrand's .254 average and 22 RBIs relegated him to a bit role with the Angels, along with the emergence of left fielder Reggie Willits and first baseman Casey Kotchman. Hillenbrand is set to earn $6.5 million this season.
"I wish I could have finished the rest of my career here, however long it is," he said. "That's how much I like it and respect the people in this organization. There's very classy people here, from the very top all the way down to us as players. I can't say enough good things about this place."
But Hillenbrand had grown increasingly irritated about sitting on the bench, and he made his feelings known to Angels manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Bill Stoneman.
"He's too young to be sitting around here for two months and not really get a chance to be productive," Scioscia said. "We've got some other bats that are working right now and we're going to ride those out, and hopefully there will be enough offense to get us to our goal."
Unlike his stint in Toronto, Hillenbrand will be leaving on good terms.
"Shea's been great around here," Scioscia said. "He spoke his mind, but it's nothing that he hasn't said in here to us or to Bill. He's been ultra-professional in this clubhouse and great to have around."
Last July, Hillenbrand got into a dispute with Toronto manager John Gibbons over playing time. Gibbons challenged Hillenbrand to a fight after the infielder wrote on the clubhouse bulletin board that the "ship is sinking." They didn't fight and Hillenbrand was traded to the Giants after writing "play for yourself" on a greaseboard in the clubhouse.
Hillenbrand, who averaged about .230 in April and May this year, didn't resort to those antics in Anaheim. And he was businesslike about his latest departure.
"It's not my first rodeo. It's happened to me before and I've landed on my feet," he said. "Hopefully, the same opportunity arises in the next couple of days with a new team."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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