Baseball

Judge says Rangers will be auctioned

The Texas Rangers auction is on.

A federal bankruptcy judge in Fort Worth, Texas, decided Thursday to keep the Aug. 4 date to auction off the team, rejecting requests to delay it nearly two months so bidders could line up financing. And Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and a billionaire businessman, may be among those bidding.

“It’s real simple: We’re going to get it done Aug. 4 and 5,” U.S. Bankruptcy Judge D. Michael Lynn said after a three-day hearing that included plenty of squabbling among attorneys involved in the long-delayed sale.

The court-appointed restructuring officer and angry creditors had argued that potential buyers would not have enough time to secure the millions needed to buy the Rangers and suggested a Sept. 30 auction. But the team countered that at least two potential bidders, Houston businessman Jim Crane and Dallas investor Jeff Beck, had time to review the deal and line up financing because they were part of the original bidding process last year.

Cuban’s attorney, Clifton Jessup, said he was “under the gun” to review terms of the sale in less than two weeks. Cuban, recently qualified by Major League Baseball to participate in the auction, has not decided whether to bid but hopes to make an offer on his own rather than join an existing group, Jessup said.

MLB has endorsed a group led by Hall of Fame pitcher and Rangers president Nolan Ryan and attorney Chuck Greenberg as its preferred buyer.

ROSE BAT UNDERWHELMS

The black Mizuno bat that Pete Rose used to get his final hit has been auctioned for $158,776, well below what was expected for the 32 ounces of baseball history.

Rose used it for hit No. 4,256 in 1986, the major league record.

Lelands.com auctioned the bat online this month. Seven bids were received.

Lelands.com president Mike Heffner believes Rose’s controversies – he’s got a lifetime ban for betting on baseball – helped hold down the price.

SHORT HOPS

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer is headed for the 15-day disabled list with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow and a strain of the flexor pronator and may require reconstructive surgery. … The Yankees will wear black armbands for the rest of the season to honor former manager Ralph Houk, who died Wednesday. … The Pirates put catcher Ryan Doumit on the 15-day disabled list with a concussion. … The Los Angeles Angels acquired infielder Alberto Callaspo from the Kansas City Royals for pitchers Sean O’Sullivan and Will Smith. … Tim Wakefield is heading to Boston’s bullpen when Josh Beckett returns from the DL today to make his first start since mid-May.

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