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Retired saves king Smith may attempt comeback

Career saves leader Lee Smith wants to come out of retirement and pitch in 1998.

Agent Brian David has begun contacting clubs to find a spot for Smith, who retired July 15. Smith went 0-1 with a 5.81 ERA in 25 games and converted five of six save opportunities with the Montreal Expos. He has 478 career saves.

Smith, who turns 40 in December, has been working out regularly at his home.

"He just wants to play," David said. "This won't be a financial issue, and it's not about him being a closer. A team could take a shot at him without risking much."

FREE AGENCY: Paul Molitor, Darryl Kile and Kenny Lofton were among 26 players who filed, raising the total to 62 after two days. Kile and Lofton are expected to be among the most sought-after free agents this winter. Kile, a right-hander who will be 30 next season, was 19-7 with a 2.57 ERA for the Astros. Lofton hit .333 with 27 steals for the Braves after his spring training trade from the Indians. Molitor, who turns 42 in August, said he isn't sure whether he wants to play next season.

Also filing: Dodgers Ps Tom Candiotti and Todd Worrell; Giants OF Stan Javier, and Boston OF Shane Mack.

ANGELS: C Todd Greene had successful arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder.

GIANTS: The team exercised its option on RHP Mark Gardner.

METS: Former major-league C John Gibbons was named manager of the Double-A team in Binghamton.

YANKEES: P David Cone said he no longer felt pain in his surgically repaired right shoulder and said the team should consider him a lock for 1998. "I've had remarkable progress since the surgery," said Cone, who had the arthroscopic procedure 12 days ago. "I got immediate relief, and the sharp pain subsided. It's pretty amazing that I had so much relief so quickly."