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New boss vows Dodger rebirth

Wire services
Published January 30, 2004

LOS ANGELES - Frank McCourt talks a good game. Time will tell if his team plays enough of them.

The $430-million sale of the Dodgers from News Corp. to McCourt was unanimously approved by baseball owners Thursday, more than 31/2 months after the sides reached an agreement.

Under scrutiny over his finances and a target of local criticism, McCourt made some bold promises at a Dodger Stadium news conference.

"Welcome to a new era of Dodger baseball," he said. "I intend to restore the glory days of Dodger baseball with a team worthy of support from our fans."

The Dodgers haven't won a postseason game since beating Oakland in the 1988 World Series.

Dodgers chief executive officer Robert Daly has said he will depart when the sale closes. McCourt refused to discuss the futures of team president Bob Graziano, general manager Dan Evans and manager Jim Tracy.

RAYS TICKETS: Individual game tickets will go on sale from 8 a.m.-midnight Feb. 12 at and then at 10 a.m. Feb. 14 online and at the Tropicana Field box office, Ticketmaster and the Rays Dugout Store at WestShore Plaza in Tampa. Call 898-7297 in Pinellas and 282-7297 in Hillsborough. The Rays also said fans holding tickets to the canceled spring training game against the Indians on April 2 can exchange them for tickets to any spring game or, beginning Feb. 14, for equal value toward a regular-season game.

BOONE WON'T CONCEDE: Aaron Boone knows most people think his second Yankee season ended on a basketball court in California. He's just not one of them.

"No," he told the New York Daily News in his first comments since the injury. "No. I plan on being back this year. Definitely. I'm going to be back."

Boone said he heard speculation that the Yankees are considering terminating his contract and releasing him. "I sure hope (to stay)," he said.

Also, Yankees right-hander Jon Lieber threw 50 pitches in the bullpen during his first workout at the minor-league complex in Tampa. Lieber did not pitch in the majors last season after reconstructive elbow surgery in August 2002.

URBINA CASE: Venezuelan prosecutor Luisa Quevedo will decide within six months whether to charge free-agent reliever Ugueth Urbina with a crime for firing a gun Jan. 23. A judge ordered his release that day citing insufficient evidence, but Quevedo said Venezuelan law allowed her six months to continue investigating.

CUBS: General manager Jim Hendry is scheduled for surgery today after he injured his left leg in a fall at his home.

MARINERS: Yung-Chi Chen, a middle infielder from Taiwan, agreed to a minor-league contract. ... Closer Kazuhiro Sasaki cleared waivers and was released.

MARLINS: The team is pursuing free agent Wil Cordero as a reserve first baseman and outfielder.

PIRATES: Right-hander Jose Mesa, who lost his closer's job with the Phillies late last season, agreed to a minor-league contract.

REDS: John Vander Wal had surgery for a knee injury sustained while shoveling snow and might miss part of spring training.

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