MLB helpful hands fumble one away

A former baseball executive appointed by commissioner Bud Selig to help oversee the troubled Los Angeles Dodgers was relieved of his duties after it was discovered he was a paid consultant last year to ex-team CEO Jamie McCourt, an attorney for Frank McCourt wrote Tuesday.

In the letter to a New York law firm that represents Major League Baseball, lawyer Robert Sacks notes Dick Freeman was introduced Monday to Dodgers employees and reviewed confidential financial documents before leaving Dodger Stadium and informing Major League Baseball of a conflict of interest.

Selig announced Freeman’s appointment Monday on a radio show and sent a letter to Frank McCourt that arrived Tuesday about his decision. McCourt was unaware of Freeman’s appointment until he received Selig’s letter.

Freeman informed MLB later in the day that he could no longer assume the role to assist former Texas Rangers President Tom Schieffer monitor the Dodgers’ daily operations.

“It was brought to our attention and as soon as it came to light it was addressed,” said MLB spokesman Michael Teevan.

Schieffer was appointed last month by Selig after questions arose about the team’s finances. Baseball officials believe the Dodgers do not have enough money to make their May 31 major league player payroll of about $8.25 million.

Frank McCourt recently took out a $30 million loan from Fox, the team’s television partner. He has urged MLB’s approval of a 17-year television deal with Fox that could be worth more than $3 billion. He has said he would take out $300 million and put it into the Dodgers.

He and his ex-wife, who declined comment, have been embroiled in a contentious and costly divorce for nearly two years.


St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has been diagnosed with shingles and is at the Mayo Clinic in Arzona being tested. It was uncertain when he would return to the team.

Bench coach Joe Pettini will run the Cardinals in place of La Russa, whose problem was initially identified in mid-April as conjunctivitis or pink eye.


Texas Rangers starter Tommy Hunter will miss two to three more weeks after having a setback in his recovery from a right-groin strain.

Hunter, who hasn’t pitched this season after winning 13 games in 2010, had an MRI after experiencing discomfort in his groin on the final delivery of a 79-pitch rehab assignment for Triple-A Round Rock on Monday.


The Royals put left-hander Bruce Chen on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his left side. …Marlins right-hander Javier Vazquez has been put on the bereavement list after the death of a relative on his wife’s side of the family.