CINCINNATI (AP) _ With baseball's winter meetings looming next week, the Cincinnati Reds today opened a spot on their 40-man winter roster by demoting catcher- infielder Lloyd McClendon to the minor leagues.

McClendon, 28, was assigned outright to Cincinnati's Class AAA Nashville farm team, the Reds said. Except for a brief stretch in the middle of the 1987 season, McClendon spent most of last season with the Reds, batting .208 in 45 games with two home runs and 13 runs batted in. He hit .286 in 26 games for Nashville in 1987 with three home runs and 14 RBI.

The Reds already have three catchers, veteran starter Bo Diaz and two promising youngsters, Terry McGriff and Joe Oliver, on their winter roster. Team executives gather next week in Dallas for baseball's winter meetings, a popular forum for discussions of trades.

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