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Kansas City keeps Appier 3 more years

The Royals' Kevin Appier, who was eligible to become a free agent following the season, Thursday agreed to a three-year, $14.9-million, contract extension through 1999.

Appier will receive $4.8-million per season, and Kansas City has an option to extend the contract one more year for $5.2-million or buy it out for $500,000. The Royals cannot trade him from July 30 of this season through next July 30. After that, there are six teams to which he cannot traded; the list was not revealed.

General manager Herk Robinson originally said club policy prohibited no-trade clauses, but he and Appier conferred again Tuesday in Boston.

Appier (9-7, 3.52, 122 strikeouts in 125 innings) is 90-61 in six-plus seasons, all with the Royals. In 1993, he struck out 186 batters in 238 innings, won 18 games and led the league with a 2.56 ERA.

INDIANS: Cleveland activated first baseman Julio Franco from the disabled list and sent Kent Mercker _ acquired from Baltimore for Eddie Murray this week _ to Triple-A Buffalo. Franco (.326, 10 home runs, 55 RBI) had a strained right hamstring. Mecker, with Atlanta last year, was 3-6 with a 7.76 ERA for the Orioles. Jack McDowell will miss one start because a strained right forearm. Greg Swindell takes his place today.

TWINS: After a team-record 755 wins, manager Tom Kelly signed a three-year contract extension through 2000.

ORIOLES: Outfielder Mark Smith was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Tuesday, because of a contusion from a foul ball off his left shin Monday.

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