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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : AROUND THE MAJOR LEAGUES

As the Seattle Mariners pursued the first pennant in their 19-year history, state and local political leaders agreed to hammer out a financial plan to help build them a new stadium.

The club’s owners say they will put the team up for sale Oct. 30 if there’s no bailout for the project.

“There was agreement that it’s in the interest of the quality of life in our state to build a stadium and save the Mariners,” Gov. Mike Lowry said after the 2 1/2-hour, closed-door meeting of state, county and city leaders.

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Despite the most successful season in their history, the Mariners expect to lose $30 million this year, bringing losses to $67 million since new owners bought the club 3 1/2 years ago. Owners blame the red ink on the configuration of the multipurpose, concrete-roofed Kingdome, where the team plays, often to small crowds.

The “sports summit” was called after King County voters narrowly defeated a plan to boost the local sales tax by a tenth of a cent--from 8.2% to a state-high 8.3%. The measure would have raised about $240 million for a new ballpark and Kingdome renovations demanded by the NFL’s Seahawks, the building’s other pro sports tenant.

Bucking the trend to cut taxes and reduce government, Lowry and leaders of both parties agreed to find a state and local tax package, or to use some of the state’s $691 million budget surplus for the state share.

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His upper jaw broken and the inside of his mouth filled with stitches, Kirby Puckett probably wasn’t in the mood for conversation.

He didn’t have a choice, though, as about 200 people called to check on him after he was hit in the face by a Dennis Martinez fastball.

“I’ve been on the phone a lot,” Puckett said in a written statement released by the Minnesota Twins. “It was nice of so many people to call. I didn’t sleep real well [Thursday] night and I can’t eat solid food for a couple of weeks, but I’ll be all right.”

Martinez, distraught after beaning a player he called one of his best friends in baseball, was among the first to call.

“Dennis Martinez called and said he was sorry,” Puckett said. “He said he had a hard time pitching after that. I know he didn’t mean to hit me, his ball just moves so much. Dennis is a good friend of mine and I know it wasn’t intentional.”

Released from Fairview-Riverside Hospital on Thursday night, Puckett said he also talked to Cleveland’s Eddie Murray for about an hour, as well as several teammates and other well-wishers.

Puckett will need 4-6 weeks to recover.

“The side of my face is swelled up like a baseball, but I’m all right,” he said. “My left eye is really swollen and it’s hard to see out of that eye. But once the swelling goes down it’ll be OK.”

Puckett was hit above the left corner of his mouth in the first inning of Cleveland’s 12-4 victory Thursday at the Metrodome. He bled profusely and was taken to the hospital, where doctors stitched cuts inside his mouth.

“The pitch was right at me,” Puckett said. “I just couldn’t get out of the way.”

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Philadelphia catcher Darren Daulton had arthroscopic operations on his left knee and left shoulder at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where team physician Dr. Phillip Marone removed loose bodies from Daulton’s knee in the sixth operation on the knee, and repaired a torn rotator cuff.

Marone said Daulton should be ready to play a month into spring training.

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San Diego Padre Manager Bruce Bochy will keep his job for another year, but the future of the team’s general manager remained unsettled.

The Padres exercised a one-year option on the contract of Bochy, 40, who is completing his first year as manager.

As for General Manager Randy Smith, published reports said he submitted his resignation earlier this week. But neither he nor the team would confirm the reports.

Smith, 32, is completing the second-year of a contract that includes an option for a third.

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Milwaukee Brewer Manager Phil Garner fired third base coach Duffy Dyer and accepted the resignation of first base coach Tim Foli.

Foli, 44, who had been with the club since 1991, said the resignation will give him a chance to pursue his goal of becoming a major league manager.

Dyer, 50, who had spent 10 years in the Brewer organization, said he was caught by surprise.

“I thought there was a good chance we would all be back,” he said.

“It wasn’t anything they did or didn’t do,” said General Manager Sal Bando. “It’s just a matter of we felt we needed change.”

Garner decided to keep bullpen coach Bill Castro, pitching coach Don Rowe and hitting coach Lamar Johnson.

Foli and Dyer will coach the bases through Sunday’s season finale.


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