Teams began adjusting to baseball's new salary cap Friday by making 36 players free agents and preserving their bargaining rights with 38 others.

The 36 players who refused 1995 contracts - including pitchers Jim Abbott and Pete Harnisch, and third baseman Charlie Hayes - are free to negotiate with anyone. Among the group were 20 players who would have been restricted free agents if their teams had decided to make qualifying offers: their 1994 salaries plus 10 percent."There are some good ones out there," New York Yankees general manager Gene Michael said of the free agent pool. "We will look at anyone that we have good reports on."

Boston let go pitchers Tony Fossas and Chris Nabholz, and Detroit got rid of four players: pitchers Mike Gardiner and Gene Harris, outfielder Junior Felix and catcher Chad Kreuter. Atlanta let go pitchers Derek Lilliquist, Gregg Olson and Mike Stanton.

The 38 restricted free agents can sign offer sheets with any team but must give their former clubs 10 days to match any offers. Among this group are Atlanta's Steve Avery, the New York Yankees' Jack McDowell and Montreal's John Wetteland.

Players, however, won't be signing soon. The players' association advised players and agents not to finalize deals until it evaluates details of the 66 pages of contract language detailing the cap that owners implemented Friday.

"We want to make sure we know what they did," said Eugene Orza, the union's No. 2 official.

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Several players agreed to contracts minutes before owners imposed the salary cap. Teams announced the deals on Friday.

Infielder Bip Roberts, who was a free agent, got the biggest deal, a $4.8 million, two-year contract with San Diego. Harold Baines, another free agent, returned to Baltimore for $1.6 million in 1995,

Outfielder Orlando Merced agreed to a $2 million, one-year deal with Pittsburgh. St. Louis signed two players to one-year deals: infielder Geronimo Pena for $770,000 and outfielder Brian Jordan for $725,000.

Catcher Scott Servais and Houston agreed to a $340,000, one-year contract. Infielder Jeff Reboulet and Minnesota agreed to a two-year deal, and catcher Steve Decker and Florida agreed to a one-year contract. Pitcher Ken Patterson agreed to a minor-league contract with California.

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