SIDELINES : McGee Hot Hitter--and Hot

FROM TIMES WIRE SERVICES

Willie McGee is the hottest hitter in baseball, but he's even hotter about his contract situation.

McGee has a 17-game hitting streak, the longest current streak in the major leagues, and has batted close to .400 in July. But he's wearing a perpetual frown because he can become a free agent this fall and the St. Louis Cardinals have shown no inclination to keep him.

"Yeah, it hurts," McGee said. "They talk about loyalty and stuff. I've been here eight or nine years and I've given my all and played hard. They want us to be loyal but when it comes time for business it seems like the loyalty is gone."

The Cardinals have nine potential free agents and McGee is one of a group that includes third baseman Terry Pendleton and left fielder Vince Coleman.

"We are not in a negotiating mode with any of those guys yet," Cardinals general manager Dal Maxvill said.

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