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PINIELLA, JAYS MEET IN AIRPORT

Although an offer to manage the Toronto Blue Jays was not extended in a three-hour meeting with club officials Monday, Lou Piniella seemed enthused for the first time about a return to the playing field.

Piniella met with Jays General Manager Pat Gillick and five other board members at the Toronto airport in a session the former Yankees manager described as "basically, a get-to-know-each-other type of thing. We talked in generalities about my baseball philosophy and how I would react in certain situations. Who knows? We may be able to work something out."

"It was an exchange of ideas," Gillick said. "We haven't made a clear-cut decision yet."

Piniella has a three-year, $1.2 million contract with the New York Yankees and works as a commentator on their cablecasts. The Jays are believed to be offering only a two-year contract, but Gillick said, "If we make a decision (on Piniella), money won't be an obstacle."

Piniella will talk to Yankees owner George Steinbrenner because he could not accept another job unless the Yankees' owner releases him from his contract.

"I expect to hear from Toronto again by Thursday," Piniella said.

Mets seeking Phils' Hayes

PHILADELPHIA -- The New York Mets have offered center fielder Lenny Dykstra and pitcher David West to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for outfielder-first baseman Von Hayes, according to a published report.

The trade reportedly is being held up by Phillies general manager Lee Thomas, who wants another player thrown in.

Hayes, batting .310 with seven home runs and 27 runs batted in, would fill in at first base for the injured Keith Hernandez.

Unidentified sources with San Diego said they wanted Hayes.

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