GWYNN GOES ON DL: Just when the San Diego Padres can use all the offensive help they can get, batting star Tony Gwynn is going on the 15-day disabled list with an inflamed left Achilles' tendon.

Gwynn strained the tendon against Philadelphia on Aug. 5 and missed the next four starts. He returned Tuesday, when the NL West-leading Padres opened a series against Atlanta, and said his heel felt pretty good.But when he doubled off Greg Maddux on Wednesday night, Gwynn said he hurt the Achilles pushing off out of the batter's box and rounding first.

"I tried to play through it," said Gwynn, 38, who had an MRI exam Thursday and didn't play in the Padres' 5-0 loss to the Braves. "Everyone is telling me that the best thing to do is rest. It's not something I wanted to do, but I know it's the right thing to do."

Greg Vaughn has been slumping, and Ken Caminiti has gone in and out of skids. Gwynn had been pulling out of a slide that included the worst slump of his career, and was hitting .323. His 125 hits so far this year leave him 95 shy of 3,000.

Doctors discussed putting the heel in a cast for four weeks. "I shot that down right away," said Gwynn, who's won the last four NL batting titles and eight overall.

"He's going to keep trying to play. The best thing is to go on the DL," Ken Caminiti said. "Hopefully we'll get along without him, but we need him at the end."

Gwynn was hitting .332 on July 4 but went into an 8-for-52 skid that dropped his average to .304 on July 23. That included an 0-for-19 slump, the worst of his career.

TRIBE SIGNS FIELDER: The Cleveland Indians signed Cecil Fielder on Thursday after he cleared waivers, hoping he can help solve their problems against left-handed pitching and ease the loss of injured first baseman Jim Thome.

Fielder, 34, hit .241 with 17 homers and 68 RBIs in 103 games for Anaheim before the Angels designated him for assignment on Aug. 5.

"For one thing, he should help us in situations against left-handers where we've been a little vulnerable this year," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said after a 7-4 loss in 12 innings to Baltimore. "He should give us a little thunder off the bench, especially with Jimmy Thome being out."

Fielder will join the Indians at Jacobs Field for tonight's game against the Orioles.