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Owners Approve the Sale of A’s

From Associated Press

Baseball’s owners unanimously approved the sale of the Oakland Athletics to Los Angeles real estate developer Lewis Wolff on Wednesday, all but finalizing a deal in the works for about a year.

The owners spoke for five minutes via conference call to approve the sale, the next-to-last step necessary for Wolff and his group of investors to assume control of the team.

Now, the parties just have to hold the closing, sign the documents and complete the transaction.

The A’s, who planned a news conference in Oakland on Friday to formally introduce Wolff as the new owner, hoped to have everything complete by Monday’s season opener in Baltimore.

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Wolff and his group are paying about $180 million to purchase the team from Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann, co-owners since buying the A’s in 1995.

Wolff met with baseball’s ownership committee in January and has repeatedly said his priority is to build a baseball-only stadium in Oakland, possibly in the Coliseum parking lot. The A’s and NFL Oakland Raiders currently share the aging venue.

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The Boston Red Sox traded reliever Byung-Hyun Kim to the Colorado Rockies, calling the $10-million, two-year deal they gave him in 2004 “a mistake.”

Kim was sent to the Rockies for left-handed pitcher Chris Narveson, 23, who was optioned to triple-A Pawtucket, and catcher Charles Johnson, who was designated for assignment and released.

As part of the trade, Colorado sent Boston about $2.6 million to equalize the salaries. Johnson is owed $9 million and Kim $6 million, part of a deal he signed before the 2004 season.

The departure of Johnson was expected. The 33-year-old, four-time Gold Glove winner was not in Colorado’s plans.

The Rockies were trying to move the 33-year-old Johnson since J.D. Closser replaced him at catcher in September.

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Players are upset about having to pay taxes on the complimentary tickets they often leave for family and friends.

The Internal Revenue Service now requires players and coaches to add the value of free tickets to their taxable income, a change from years past. The new system could increase a player’s tax bill by more than $11,000.

“We’re definitely not happy about it,” Boston outfielder Johnny Damon said. “I’m not going to complain about it. This game has been very good to me. Maybe with some of the younger guys it could be a little tougher.”

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Kerry Wood returned to the mound for the first time in three weeks and threw 92 pain-free pitches, leading the Chicago Cubs to a 5-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Mesa, Ariz. The Cub ace had not pitched since March 9 because of bursitis in his right shoulder.

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Robert Sarver, owner of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, ordered security guards to remove three Colorado Rockies’ players from America West Arena on Monday night for their conduct while seated directly behind him during a game against Denver.

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The Arizona Republic reported that Sarver warned the men several times about violating standards of fan behavior before having them escorted out of the arena.

Rockies’ spokesman Jay Alves said outfielder Matt Holliday and pitchers Shawn Chacon, Brian Fuentes and Javier Lopez attended the game, but that he was not sure who was ejected.

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The San Francisco Giants released pitchers Wayne Franklin and Al Levine.... The Cincinnati Reds sent pitchers Jose Acevedo, Todd Coffey and Jeriome Robertson and outfielder Jason Romano to the minors and released catcher Bobby Estalella.... The Baltimore Orioles traded left-hander Matt Riley to Texas for outfielder Ramon Nivar.... The Oakland Athletics optioned left-hander Dan Meyer to triple-A Sacramento and reassigned catcher Jeremy Brown to minor league camp.

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