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Wiggins Is Assigned to Las Vegas

The Major League Player’s Assn. gave Alan Wiggins, the San Diego Padre second baseman who disappeared before a game at Dodger Stadium 53 days ago, instructions Monday to the effect that if the Padres don’t assign him to the minor leagues for physical rehabilitation by tomorrow morning, he should show up at Dodger Stadium prior to the Dodger-Padre game, demand a uniform and start working out.

But the Padres, who have maintained that Wiggins will never again play for them, ended up giving Wiggins a minor league assignment Monday afternoon to their Triple-A team in Las Vegas, an assignment that Wiggins has the right to turn down. And as of Monday night, he had still not signed the assignment papers, which means it’s still feasible that he could show up at tonight’s game, asking for his uniform.

“Alan Wiggins is not going to put on a Padre uniform, and the player’s association is obviously trying to cause a confrontation,” said Ballard Smith, Padre team president.

Earlier in the day, Eugene Orza, the associate general counsel of the player’s association, had said: “The time has come for San Diego to move,” he said. They don’t have any time left...He’ll show up (at Dodger Stadium) if they don’t do anything.”

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And the National League office and the Player Relations Committee, supposed Padre allies, apparently agreed with Orza. Orza said National League President Chub Feeney had planned to order the Padres to give Wiggins a uniform and let him work out with the team if they didn’t assign him to the minor leagues by today.

Wiggins entered a drug treatment center on April 27, was released on May 26th, later saying he was chemically dependent. On June 10, he was declared medically fit by baseball’s Joint Review Counsel, and under the drug agreement, it was then up to the Padres to declare whether Wiggins was physically fit to play baseball again.

A Philadelphia caterer, one of seven men indicted in a federal investigation of drug trafficking in major league baseball, pleaded not guilty Monday to 16 counts of cocaine distribution and his attorney demanded that authorities turn over “any tape recordings made with ballplayers.”

Basketball Coach Rollie Massimino of Villanova reportedly has been offered the job as coach of the New Jersey Nets, but the National Basketball Assn. team would neither confirm nor deny the report.

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“It’s no secret we have spoken with Rollie,” said Net spokesman Jim Lampariello. “To the best of my knowledge, he has not been given the job.”

The New York Post reported in its late Monday editions that Massimino had been picked for the job and would be paid about $400,000 per season. Massimino coached Villanova to the NCAA championship in March, the Wildcats upsetting top-ranked Georgetown in the title game.

A delegation from Liverpool, England, flew to Turin, Italy, in an effort to heal wounds caused by last month’s riot at the European Champions Cup soccer final in Brussels, where 38 people were killed.

Most of the victims of the riot May 29 were Italian fans of the Juventus team of Turin. They were crushed or trampled to death when Liverpool fans charged into their section and a concrete wall collapsed.

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Owners of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who say they no longer will restrict the club’s sale to someone who agrees to keep it in the city, have found a sympathetic listener in Chub Feeney, National League president.

Feeney, while saying that the league would prefer to keep the franchise where it has been since 1887, said he could understand why the Galbreath family had removed the restriction.

“We can’t expect them to take tremendous losses year after year,” he said.

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Catcher Rick Cerone of the Atlanta Braves has been put on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained shoulder muscle, the team said. Shortstop Paul Zuvella will take Cerone’s place on the Braves’ roster.

Willie Banks, who set a world record in the triple jump Sunday, and Jim Spivey, the U.S. 1,500-meter champion, will head a pair of American teams that will compete in separate meets this week in Berkeley and in England.


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