MLB hopeful Cuba will join Classic

By wire services
Published January 19, 2006

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Baseball officials are cautiously expecting good news soon from the Bush administration that would clear the way for Cuba to participate in the first World Baseball Classic.

"We remain guardedly optimistic and are looking forward to receiving a positive response to our reapplication, hopefully within a matter of days," said Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer.

Fidel Castro suggested the United States doesn't want to play Cuba in the tournament. "We aren't afraid of anything," the dictator said.

DuPuy also gave the owners' executive council a report on his troubled efforts to get the Washington City Council to approve a lease agreement for a new stadium for the Nationals. Major League Baseball, which owns the team, says it will not sell the franchise until a lease is in place.

N.Y. STADIUMS: The Yankees and Mets moved a step closer to breaking ground on new stadiums after New York State's economic development agency approved design and infrastructure plans for both ballparks. Public hearings will be within 60 days.

REDS: Right-handed reliever David Weathers hurt a finger on his pitching hand but is expected to be ready for spring training.

YANKEES: Community activist Derrick Mosley, 39, was sentenced in Chicago to more than two years in prison for trying to blackmail slugger Gary Sheffield and his wife by claiming to have a video showing her having sex with R&B singer R. Kelly.