Commissioner’s office aims for June 22 to finish inquiry into Dodgers’ finances

The commissioner’s office hopes to conclude its investigation into the Dodgers’ finances by June 22, a person familiar with the matter said Wednesday. The person, who was not authorized to speak publicly, characterized the potential end date as a goal, not a guarantee.

Such a development would represent a significant step toward the end of the ownership drama that has enveloped the Dodgers for 18 months, with Frank McCourt fighting to retain sole ownership of the team amid opposition from his ex-wife, Jamie McCourt, and a trustee imposed on the club by Commissioner Bud Selig.

June 22 is the date set for a Los Angeles Superior Court hearing in which Frank McCourt will ask for a ruling that his ex-wife has no standing to challenge a proposed long-term television contract with Fox, one that he says would restore the team to robust financial health. At the same hearing, Jamie McCourt will ask Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon to order the immediate sale of the team.

Fox does not plan to move forward with the television contract unless the company can be assured Jamie McCourt will not contest the deal in court. Selig has said he would not consider approving the contract until the investigation is completed.

Frank McCourt has scrambled to meet the Dodgers’ payroll, and those close to him have expressed concern that Selig would delay the investigation until the owner runs out of money, opening the door for the commissioner to seize the team and put it up for sale.

Sweeter dreams

On Sunday, Rafael Furcal said he was having trouble sleeping “because I think we’re losing because of me not getting on base.”


Slumbering is no longer a problem now that the leadoff hitter has resumed giving opposing pitchers nightmares.

Furcal entered Wednesday’s game against Colorado having collected seven hits in his previous 13 at-bats, raising his batting average to .213 from .125.

“My timing’s getting better,” said Furcal, who endured a one-for-22 slump last week. “I’m seeing the ball better right now.”

The Dodgers’ offense has taken off along with Furcal, averaging 5.3 runs in his last three games before Wednesday.

“He’s an igniter,” hitting coach Jeff Pentland said. “If he’s doing his thing, we’re probably going to reap the rewards.”

Closing time

When Vicente Padilla is activated from the disabled list, it won’t be as the Dodgers’ exclusive closer.

Even though late-inning relievers Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo and Kenley Jansen remain sidelined, Manager Don Mattingly said he would continue to use a mix-and-match approach with the ninth inning.

“We’ve got different guys we’re using in different situations,” said Mattingly, who has recently used rookies Rubby De La Rosa and Javy Guerra to finish games.

Padilla is expected to return Friday, when the Dodgers open a three-game series in Cincinnati.

Sands sits

Jerry Sands was out of the starting lineup for the second time in three days, with Mattingly saying he wanted Jay Gibbons in left field because Gibbons had “a little better experience” against Colorado starter Ubaldo Jimenez.

Gibbons entered the game one for four with a run batted in in his career against Jimenez; Sands had never faced the right-hander.