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McCourt Denies Limits on Contracts

Times Staff Writer

With MVP candidate Adrian Beltre poised for the riches of free agency, owner Frank McCourt strongly refuted industry speculation that the Dodgers would no longer offer contracts of longer than three years.

“There is no such policy,” McCourt said Wednesday.

For the record:

12:00 AM, Aug. 27, 2004 For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday August 27, 2004 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 3 inches; 116 words Type of Material: Correction
Home run leader -- A Sports section article Thursday reported that Adrian Beltre was trying to become the first Dodger in 98 years to lead the majors in home runs. A Dodger last led the majors 96 years ago, when Brooklyn’s Tim Jordan led with 12 homers in 1908. Jordan also tied for the major league lead in 1906 with 12. Also in the article, Stats Inc. should have been credited as the source of the following information: Beltre, 25, is on pace to join Al Rosen (1953) and Ken Caminiti (1996) as the only third basemen in major league history to bat .325, hit 40 home runs and drive in 100 runs in one season.

Some insurers no longer issue policies for contracts beyond three years, and companies still offering coverage have raised costs to near-prohibitive levels.

However, Beltre is playing so well this season -- at such a young age -- that the Dodgers would stand little chance of retaining him with a three-year bid.

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General Manager Paul DePodesta has told agent Scott Boras that the Dodgers want to talk contract at season’s end. Boras declined to discuss an asking price for Beltre but indicated that a six-year bid might be required.

“In the marketplace for premium players -- high-end guys -- I don’t know of any under the age of 30 in recent times that have not been offered less than six years,” Boras said.

Vladimir Guerrero signed with the Angels for five years and $70 million, but he rejected a six-year offer from the Baltimore Orioles. Other position players to sign big contracts over the last two years at age 27 or younger include third basemen Eric Chavez (six years, $66 million) and Scott Rolen (eight years, $90 million), shortstop Miguel Tejada (six years, $72 million) and first baseman Albert Pujols (seven years, $100 million).

Beltre, 25, is on pace to join Al Rosen (1953) and Ken Caminiti (1996) as the only third basemen in major league history to bat .325, hit 40 home runs and drive in 100 runs in one season. Rosen and Caminiti each received an MVP award that year.

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The Dodgers were no closer to learning when -- or if -- Brad Penny would pitch again this season after he played catch for five minutes on Wednesday. After throwing for the first time since grabbing his right arm and running off the Dodger Stadium mound Aug. 9, Penny told physical therapist Pat Screnar that he experienced no pain but felt “a slight amount” of restriction in his arm movement and lingering numbness in the forearm.

Beyond the announced diagnosis of a strained right biceps muscle, Penny irritated the nerve that extends into the muscle. Screnar said the latter condition is the one that is delaying his recovery.

“I’ve never seen this kind of injury before,” he said.

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Penny refused to comment. Screnar said that Penny continues to progress slowly and that a next step would not be determined until after he is evaluated today.

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Shawn Green, hit on his right leg by a pitch Tuesday, did not play Wednesday after experiencing swelling and discomfort in the leg overnight and residual tingling and numbness in his right foot. Green said he expected to play tonight.... In his second rehabilitation start at triple-A Las Vegas, Edwin Jackson gave up five runs in 1 1/3 innings -- on no hits, five walks and a hit batter.... Beltre is trying to become the first Dodger in 98 years to lead the majors in home runs. Brooklyn’s Tim Jordan led in 1906 -- with 12.


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