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Union okays Series edge to All-Star victor

Compiled from Times wires
Published May 2, 2003

NEW YORK - Players agreed to a two-year experiment Thursday to give homefield advantage in the World Series to the league that wins the All-Star Game.

"It's always been fun," said Indians designated hitter Ellis Burks, a two-time All-Star. "But now, especially with guys from contending teams, it's really going to be fun. They're going to have a lot more to play for."

Owners approved the proposal Jan. 17, and players had been discussing it before agreeing to it on a trial basis. Still, some players remained opposed.

"I disagree with it, completely and totally," said Dodgers pitcher Kevin Brown, a five-time All-Star. "I think it just takes away from the whole idea of what the All-Star Game is about, which is letting the fans vote and letting it be an exhibition game. Now they're trying to make it into something that it never has been."

Since the first World Series in 1903, homefield advantage has alternated annually.

ARRESTED ASTRO DEMOTED: Astros shortstop Julio Lugo was demoted hours after he was arrested and charged with hitting his wife in the face and slamming her head on a car hood.

Lugo was arrested after Wednesday night's game at Minute Maid Park. Lugo was freed on $50,000 bond Thursday after spending the night in jail. Lugo's wife, Mabel, was treated for minor injuries at a hospital and released.

BURNETT QUESTIONS MANAGEMENT: Seeking to explain the elbow injury that ended his season, right-hander A.J. Burnett hinted that Marlins management might have withheld information from him about his health, angering general manager Larry Beinfest.

"There's a rumor out there that our management had known there was a bone spur in my elbow upon arriving from the Montreal Expos to the Florida Marlins, and both (pitching coach) Brad Arnsberg and (manager) Jeff Torborg were not told about this," Burnett said.

Beinfest said that was untrue. "It is among the most outrageous, ridiculous statements and accusations that I've ever heard in this game," he said.

Florida lost its second starter this week when left-hander Mark Redman was sidelined by a broken thumb on his pitching hand. He is expected to be sidelined two to four weeks.

RICKEY'S DEBUT: Rickey Henderson went 1-for-3 with an RBI in his first game with the independent league Newark Bears, a 6-5 win over the visiting Bridgeport Bluefish.

Baseball's career leader in runs, steals and walks said he's "99 percent sure" he'll be signed by a major-league team before long. "Anybody in the major leagues, I can outsteal right now, at age 44," he said.

PLUNKING IRKS BONDS: Cubs right-hander Mark Prior hit Giants slugger Barry Bonds with a pitch in the third, causing both benches to clear. Bonds was hit in the upper right leg on a 1-and-1 curveball two days after he got hit twice on breaking pitches by Kerry Wood. He walked toward the mound and Prior motioned him on as they exchanged words.

A'S: A bar at the Oakland Coliseum no longer will serve drinks after the seventh inning in response to recent fan violence.

BLUE JAYS: Manager Carlos Tosca will miss today and Saturday's games against the Angels so he can attend daughter Jessica's graduation from the University of Florida. ... Struggling closer Kelvim Escobar is going into the starting rotation. Tosca said Cliff Politte will be the closer for now.

D'BACKS: Left-hander Randy Johnson had successful arthroscopic knee surgery, his first operation in seven years.

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