NEW YORK - Still without a home for next year, the Expos are remaining in the NL East under the draft 2005 schedule created by the commissioner's office.
Washington and northern Virginia are the leading contenders to land the team, baseball officials have said in recent weeks. Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, has said the relocation committee has not eliminated any of the bidders, which include Las Vegas; Monterrey, Mexico; Norfolk, Va.; and Portland, Ore.
A copy of the draft schedule was given to the players' association, and the Expos are slated to remain in the NL East, where they've been since they started play in 1969. That would make travel more difficult if they are moved off the East Coast.
If a decision is made soon, there still would be time to alter the schedule, according to the commissioner's office.
GEORGE INVOKES 9/11: Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner said he had motivational messages placed around Yankee Stadium on Wednesday to inspire his players and to let New Yorkers know his players are as resilient as the public has been in dealing with the trauma after Sept. 11, 2001.
The owner had the messages posted on a marquee and scoreboards after Tuesday's record 22-0 loss to the Indians.
"I wanted to show the fans that we have the same courage and the same attitudes all New Yorkers have had in fighting back from that terrible episode on 9/11," Steinbrenner said in a statement. "New Yorkers never give up and the Yankees never give up."
Meanwhile, Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi took batting practice for the fifth straight day and could appear in minor-league games soon. "He's doing a little bit more every day," manager Joe Torre said.
BRADLEY SENTENCE UPHELD: An Ohio appeals court Wednesday upheld a three-day jail sentence given to Dodgers outfielder Milton Bradley last year while Bradley was with the Indians. It is doubtful the issue will affect the Dodgers. Bradley has 45 days to appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court, which would take him into the middle of October, and he likely will do so.
Bradley was sentenced after an incident Aug. 30, 2003, in the Cleveland suburb of Cuyahoga Falls, in which he drove away while being issued a speeding ticket. Bradley's crime was that he rolled up his window and drove off without signing the ticket.
Meanwhile, Dodgers right-hander Brad Penny had his best throwing session, making 75 tosses, some as long as 180 feet. Penny, sidelined since Aug. 9 with a strained right biceps, has yet to throw off the mound, and there is no timetable for his return.
CLOSER'S MOM KIDNAPPED: The mother of Tigers right-hander Ugueth Urbina was kidnapped in Caracas, Venezuela, by four unidentified men disguised as police officers, police said. The men took Maura Villareal from a house owned by Urbina in suburban Caracas on Wednesday, said Joel Rengifo, director of the country's anti-kidnapping police force. The men have not contacted family members, he said.
THREE SUSPENDED: Right-handers Ken Mercker of the Cubs and Dan Wheeler of the Astros were suspended three games each and Houston manager Phil Garner one game by Major League Baseball for actions during a tense series last weekend in Chicago.
A'S: Rightfielder Jermaine Dye hopes to return to the lineup today. He left Sunday's game with a sore thumb and did not play in the three-game series with the White Sox.
BLUE JAYS: Right-hander Josh Towers will miss his scheduled start Sunday because of a strained shoulder. Towers has been bothered by it in his past three starts. ... Catcher Gregg Zaun left the game against the Mariners with a bruised right elbow after being hit by a pitch in the second inning.
RED SOX: Slugger David Ortiz did not start against the Angels because of a sore right shoulder. Ortiz hurt his shoulder sliding into home Sunday against Detroit.
WHITE SOX: Right-hander Freddy Garcia will miss his third straight start Sunday because of a sore forearm. Garcia, who hasn't pitched since Aug. 22, hopes to start Wednesday in Texas.