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January 02, 1993|From Staff and Wire Reports

The Detroit Tigers agreed on a $10.6-million, three-year contract with Tony Phillips, avoiding salary arbitration with their leadoff hitter.

Since joining Detroit as a free agent from Oakland after the 1989 season, Phillips, 33, has started at second base, third base, shortstop, designated hitter and all three outfield positions, ranking near the top of most offensive categories.

Hitting in front of a lineup that included Cecil Fielder, Mickey Tettleton, Travis Fryman and Rob Deer, Phillips led the major leagues in runs last season with 114.

He was third among Tigers with a .276 average, second with 606 at-bats and a personal-best 167 hits and tied for fifth with 64 runs batted in. He hit 10 home runs, down from 17 in 1991, which was the best in his career.

He had his best offensive season in '91 while becoming the first major leaguer to start 10 games at five different positions: second, third, shortstop, outfield and DH. He made only eight errors.

Along with his home run total, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Phillips also had personal bests for RBIs (72) and average (.284) in '91.

An Atlanta, native, Phillips played every position except pitcher, catcher and center field for Oakland in 1989 and played in all nine postseason games as the A's won the World Series.

The Montreal Expos made Phillips their first selection in the secondary phase of the January 1978 free-agent draft. He played three full seasons in the Expos' farm system before being traded to Oakland in a five-player spring training deal in 1981.

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