Remove single field code but keep reference.

I am a aware of the remove field cose button, but I would need to remove only certain field codes. For example I have (Smith et. al 2001), then I edit it to (2001), but refresh or change citation style it goes back to (Smith et. al 2001). Given that I will not refresh or change citaiton style, how do I keep the reference but prevent it from updating? If I remove the field code will it delete the reference as well? And how do I remove one field code?
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