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Lee Smith Hopes for Another Team

March 29, 1998

HAINES CITY, Fla. (AP) _ Lee Smith, baseball’s career saves later, still hopes to catch on with another team.

``Right now, I know it’s tough with teams cutting back guys, not picking up guys,″ said Smith, who on Friday refused Kansas City’s request that he go to the minors. ``I thought I’d see if I could get with another ballclub before I made my decision on the Triple-A thing. I ain’t weighing too close toward it, I know.″

Smith, who saved 478 games for eight teams in 18 years, was asked by Royals manager Tony Muser to accept an assignment to Triple-A Omaha. Kansas City wants to protect relievers Jim Pittsley and Brian Bevley, who are out of options.

``I don’t want to go down to Triple A for a month or so, hoping that Brian Bevil doesn’t throw strikes and stuff,″ Smith said. ``That’s kind of a weak act for somebody with 18 years in the big leagues to be waiting for somebody to screw up. I don’t want to wish any bad luck on anybody. I’m not that good anyway, but if I wanted to put the double whammy on somebody, I’d have done it before now.″

Smith, 40, is trying a comeback after retiring in July. He failed to show up Saturday, his scheduled day to pitch.

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