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NOTEBOOK : PADRES UPDATE : Santiago Boosts His Insurance Against Career-Ending Injury

Padre catcher Benito Santiago, eligible to be a free agent after the 1992 season, says he has taken out a $5 million insurance policy with Lloyd’s of London to protect himself from a career-threatening injury.

Next year, he said, he’ll raise the policy to $10 million.

“I just want to protect myself,” he said. “I had a $1 million policy to start with, but with free agency coming up, I decided this would be best for my family.”

Santiago now makes $1.65 million, but his salary is expected to climb to $3 million next season. He likely could attract close to $20 million in the free agent market.

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“I figure it’s the smart move,” Santiago said.

Padre first baseman Fred McGriff joined some select company Wednesday when he hit his second grand slam in two nights, achieving a major league mark previously accomplished 12 times.

The last player to do this in the National League was Pittsburgh’s Phil Garner, who hit his grand slams Sept. 14-Sept. 15, 1978.

Before Gardner, the last National League player to hit consecutive grand slams was James Sheckard in 1901 for the Brooklyn Dodgers. James Bannon of Boston in 1894 was the only other National League player.

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The American League players who have performed the feat:

Babe Ruth of the Yankees in 1927 and 1929

Bill Dickey of the Yankees in 1937

Jimmy Foxx of the Red Sox in 1940

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Jim Busby of the Indians in 1956

Brooks Robinson of the Orioles in 1962

Willie Mays Aikens of the Angels in 1979

Greg Luzinski of the White Sox in 1984

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Rob Deer of the Brewers in 1987

Padre second baseman Bip Roberts, who underwent root canal surgery Tuesday to repair his broken front tooth, was asked if he thought about replacing it with a gold tooth, like Kevin Mitchell of the San Francisco Giants.

“Hey, I love Kevin Mitchell to death,” Roberts said, laughing, “but I don’t want to look like him.”

Just how stunning has the Padres’ home run barrage, in which they have hit 11 homers in their past four games, spanning 141 at-bats, entering Wednesday’s game?

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Consider this: Before this streak, they had only 10 homers in their past 25 games, spanning 843 at-bats.


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