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White Sox's refusal'misunderstanding'

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 13, 2003


PHOENIX -- The plan by the White Sox to refuse to take a mandatory drug test was simply a misunderstanding, according to Sandy Alomar Jr.

Sixteen members of the team were ready to refuse a test Tuesday so they could be counted as testing positive for steroids. Their idea was to send a message that more extensive monitoring is needed.

The players ultimately decided to take the test after consulting with Gene Orza, the No.2 official of the players' association.

"That's a misunderstanding," Alomar said Wednesday after the White Sox played the Athletics to a 6-6 tie. "Everybody's taking the test. It's not an issue right now."

Under the new collective bargaining agreement, all players on 40-man rosters are given two announced tests for illegal steroids as part of a survey. If more than 5 percent test positive, "program" testing starts the following year and continues until less than 2.5 percent test positive in two consecutive years combined.

Owners also can conduct up to 240 additional random tests if there is program testing next year.

Players who refuse a test are automatically counted as having tested positive for steroids.

Johnson wants baseball to keep stake in Expos

Robert Johnson wants major league baseball to keep a 49 percent stake in the Expos if he reaches a deal to buy the team and move it to the Washington area.

Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, said he would be interested in owning the team if it is moved to either downtown Washington or suburban Northern Virginia.

He said he would only want to buy 51 percent, with baseball having the right to sell the rest to him several years after the team moves into a new ballpark.

"They don't need to put money in their pockets right now," he said after a panel discussion at the World Sports Congress, a two-day business gathering. "Baseball's goal should be to relocate a team out of a failing market to a market that's going to make money."

INDIANS: Reliever Mark Wohlers will miss at least the first two months of the season after having bone chips removed from his elbow.

ORIOLES: First baseman David Segui was hit by a ball on the base of his right thumb during batting practice. He is day to day and will see a hand specialist today, the team said.

REDS: Former owner Marge Schott was hospitalized. Schott, who still has a minority stake in the team, was suffering from pneumonia when she was admitted, said her spokesman, Arnold Barnett. ... Pitcher Jose Rijo had an operation on his right elbow for the sixth time since 1995 and is not likely to make the opening day roster.

RED SOX: Pitching coach Tony Cloninger may have bladder cancer. A doctor found a 2-inch tumor in Cloninger's bladder, and team physician Dr. Bill Morgan said a biopsy was performed Tuesday to determine if the tumor is cancerous. The results will not be available until Friday at the earliest.

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