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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : AROUND THE MAJORS : Giants Send Hot-Hitting Phillips Down

March 29, 1994| Associated Press

Rookie J.R. Phillips lost his bid to take over Will Clark's first base job, becoming one of five players cut by the San Francisco Giants.

The Giants reduced their roster to 26, optioning Phillips and pitcher Tony Menendez to triple-A Phoenix.

Phillips lost out to veteran Todd Benzinger despite batting .327 this spring and driving in a team-high 17 runs. Phillips also had seven extra-base hits, including three homers, in 49 at-bats and was voted the top newcomer in camp.

"We didn't want another situation like Matt Williams or Royce Clayton, where they have a great spring, and then we end up sending them back in the middle of the year," Manager Dusty Baker said.

*

Pedro Martinez and three other Expos combined on a four-hitter as Montreal beat Atlanta, 2-0, at West Palm Beach, Fla., ending the Braves' seven-game winning streak. Martinez gave up two hits and struck out three in three innings.

Dennis Boucher followed and didn't give up a hit in three innings. Butch Henry gave up one hit in the next two innings, and Mel Rojas picked up the save with a scoreless ninth.

The Braves' Steve Avery, scheduled to pitch five innings, left after two because of a sore muscle. . . . Baltimore purchased Lonnie Smith's minor league contract, giving him a one-year deal for $750,000 and adding him to its 40-man roster.

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