Archive for Thursday, April 3, 2003

Baseball briefs

April 3, 2003

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Congress asks baseball for documents on ephedra

Washington -- The House Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters Wednesday to baseball commissioner Bud Selig and union head Donald Fehr, requesting documents about ephedra use in the sport.

Congress is investigating dietary supplements containing ephedra, and baseball has come under scrutiny since the death of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler in February. A coroner said ephedra contributed to Bechler's death from heatstroke.

The letters asked for the information by April 16 "in light of the recent press reports raising additional questions about the safety of ephedra supplements and the conflicting reports about a possible ban on ephedra use among baseball players."

Selig and Fehr were asked whether their staffs "did any analysis or review of the NFL's, NCAA's or IOC's decisions to ban the use of ephedra supplements."

Bowa suspended for one game

Miami -- Philadelphia manager Larry Bowa was suspended for one game and fined Wednesday for inciting the benches to clear during a spring training game against Toronto.

Bob Watson, baseball's vice president of discipline, announced the penalty before the Phillies played Florida on Wednesday night. Bowa is to miss today's series finale.

Angry that Toronto's Roy Halladay hit Jim Thome in the third inning of the game in Clearwater, Fla., on March 26, Bowa yelled at the pitcher an inning later and was ejected.

Tejada wants new pact before end of season

Oakland, Calif. -- Miguel Tejada said Wednesday he wants a new contract from the Oakland Athletics before the end of the season or he will become a free agent.

"If I'm going to stay here, I don't want to wait until after the season (for a deal)," the reigning AL MVP said.

The thing is, A's owner Steve Schott has said the club won't make a multiyear offer to the star shortstop, and that he won't "insult" Tejada with talk of a one-year contract.

However, if Tejada's agent approaches the team with a contract proposal for more than one year, it would be considered, Schott said. But Tejada's agents have asked the team to make the first offer.

"I never intended to slam the door on Miguel Tejada," Schott told the San Francisco Chronicle. "If the opportunity arises and his agents want to talk to us again about a shorter-term contract than what we heard he was looking for, we're always ready to listen."

Schott told Tejada last month that the team couldn't afford to keep him when his contract is up after the 2003 season.

Tejada said he would consider accepting less money to stay with the franchise that he joined as an undrafted free agent at age 17 -- and possibly even a one-year contract, though that seems doubtful.

He has not said how much money he will ask for. He made $3.65 million last season and will get $5 million this year.

"I can't say right now how much I want. I don't know if they can afford me," the 26-year-old Dominican said. "Right now I don't think about the money. I just want to win and play a really good game every day."

Tejada joked Wednesday that he wants $500 million.

"If I can make an offer I'll ask for $500 million," he said.

Most important to him is a stable environment for his family so his children don't have to change schools constantly. His 3-year-old daughter, Alexis, starts preschool next week.

"I feel they want me, and I really want to stay here," Tejada said. "I just want to have a future for my kids."

Tejada would be the second MVP to leave Oakland in three years. Jason Giambi, the 2000 MVP, signed a $120 million, seven-year contract with the New York Yankees after the 2001 season.

The A's have a payroll of about $50 million, up from $41 million at the end of last season.

Schott, who was unavailable Wednesday, has said the only way to generate more revenue for the low-market franchise and help keep star players would be to build a new stadium. That's one of his priorities.

Manager Ken Macha would just as soon not hear any more about Tejada's contract situation. He encouraged Tejada during spring training to let his agent and team officials worry about that and focus on playing baseball -- which Tejada has insisted he will do.

"It's unfair to the kid and unfair to the ballclub," Macha said of the contract talk. "If that was my situation, I would say, 'I have no comment on that."'

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