Dodgers sold for $2 billion
New ownership group includes Magic Johnson
Dodgers owner Frank McCourt announced an agreement Tuesday night to sell the bankrupt team for $2 billion to a group that includes former Lakers star Magic Johnson and former Braves and Nationals president Stan Kasten.
Kasten is expected to wind up as the team’s top day-to-day executive.
The agreement, revealed about five hours after Major League Baseball owners approved three finalists for the auction, is to lead to a transfer of the team by the end of April. It is subject to approval in federal bankruptcy court.
Mark Walter, chief executive officer of the financial services firm Guggenheim Partners, would become the controlling owner. The price would be easily a record for a North American sports franchise. As part of the agreement, the Dodgers said McCourt and “certain affiliates of the purchasers’’ would acquire the land surrounding Dodger Stadium for $150 million.
The acquiring group, called Guggenheim Baseball Management, includes Mandalay Entertainment chief executive Peter Guber.
McCourt paid $430 million in 2004 to buy the team, Dodger Stadium, and 250 acres of land that include the parking lots, from the Fox division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., a sale that left the team with about $50 million in cash at the time. The team’s debt stood at $579 million as of January, according to a court filing.
Cabrera cleared to play
Tigers star Miguel Cabrera was cleared to play again, more than a week after a bad-hop grounder broke a bone beneath his right eye.
Cabrera is expected to return to the lineup within a couple of days, although manager Jim Leyland hasn’t committed to the exact date the AL batting champion will play. The Tigers open their season April 5 in Detroit against the Red Sox. Leyland emphatically said that if Cabrera is healthy, he will start at third base and bat third.
Pettitte increases workload
Andy Pettitte increased his workload by throwing in a simulated game in Tampa, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi thinks the lefthander could pitch in a spring training game next week. Pettitte, 39, came out of retirement March 16. He threw 20 pitches in batting practice before making 13 more pitches to four batters in a simulated game.
Also, Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain said he expects to recover from his trampoline injury and pitch this season. Chamberlain spoke at the Yankees’ spring training complex about last week’s accident that left him with a dislocated right ankle. He is on crutches and will be in a cast for six weeks . . . The Yankees released Preston Mattingly, son of former Yankees star and current Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
Reds’ Latos strains left calf
Reds righthander Mat Latos strained his left calf during a 7-4 loss to the Cubs in Goodyear, Ariz., and is day to day. Latos’s injury came three days after the Reds learned that closer Ryan Madson needed reconstructive elbow surgery and is out for the season . . . Cliff Lee pitched six scoreless innings to lead the Phillies to a 5-4 victory over the Pirates in Clearwater, Fla. Lee allowed three hits, struck out three, and walked one. The lefthander also hit for the first time this spring and doubled in his final at-bat . . . Eric Hosmer hit two homers and had four RBIs to lead the Royals to a 9-7 win over the Brewers in Phoenix. Bruce Chen, named Kansas City’s Opening Day starter, allowed three runs and seven hits with six strikeouts in six innings . . . Heath Bell pitched a hitless inning to earn his first save for the Marlins, who beat the Nationals, 3-1, in Jupiter, Fla. Bell, who signed a $27 million, three-year contract with the Marlins over the winter, struck out two and walked none. Ricky Nolasco pitched 6 1/3 innings to become the first Miami starter to reach the seventh this spring. He allowed nine hits and one run . . . Japanese lefthander Tsuyoshi Wada, who signed a two-year, $8.15 million contract with the Orioles during the offseason, was roughed up in his first spring start, allowing four runs and four hits in three innings during the Twins’ 5-0 victory in Sarasota, Fla. . . . Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy agreed to a five-year, $11 million contract . . . The Astros released lefthander Zach Duke and outfielder Jack Cust . . . Twins minor league lefthander Aaron Thompson and Cardinals minor league catcher Cody Stanley were suspended for 50 games for violating baseball’s drug program . . . In a biography scheduled for release this week, Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey reveals being sexually abused by a female babysitter multiple times when he was 8 years old, and also by a 17-year-old male on another occasion. He writes about contemplating suicide six years ago, and finding a syringe in a clubhouse bathroom when he was with the Rangers in 2001.