Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Dodgers interested in Maddux

Baseball notebook: Team making calls to gauge ex-Braves pitcher's enthusiasm

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - The team has expressed interest in Greg Maddux; pitching coach Jim Colborn has spoken with the right-hander, and manager Jim Tracy talked to Maddux' brother.

The conversations were confirmed Tuesday by a baseball source who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Tracy and Colborn made the calls at the behest of general manager Dan Evans to gauge Maddux's interest in pitching for the Dodgers, the source said.

Evans refused comment on the matter, citing his policy concerning potential personnel moves, and Tracy and Colborn could not be reached.

Maddux, who turns 38 in April, has won 289 major-league games, including 15 or more in a record 16 straight seasons. He was 16-11 with a 3.96 ERA for the Braves last year, then became a free agent.

The Cubs made a two-year offer to Maddux last month and remain interested. General manager Jim Hendry said Tuesday he hasn't given Maddux or agent Scott Boras a deadline and plans to speak with Boras this week.

"We're just talking to four, five teams and are waiting to see," Boras said Tuesday.

Maddux pitched for the Cubs from 1986-92 before joining the Braves as a free agent. Colborn worked for the Cubs during Maddux's time there, and Maddux's brother, Mike, pitched for the Dodgers in 1999, when Tracy was the team's bench coach.

Maddux ranks second among active pitchers in wins, 21 behind Roger Clemens. Maddux is 289-163 with a 2.89 ERA in his 18-year career. He has pitched in nine division series, eight league championship series and three World Series.

MARLINS: Outfielder Wil Cordero passed his physical Tuesday and finalized a $600,000, one-year contract with Florida. Cordero, 32, who could earn an additional $200,000 in performance bonuses if he plays in 140 games this season, hit .278 with 16 home runs and 17 RBI last year for Montreal.

SASAKI SIGNS: Former Mariners closer Kazuhiro Sasaki rejoined Japan's Yokohama BayStars, agreeing to a deal with the Central League team. Terms of the contract were not released.

"I want to thank the Mariners and their fans," Sasaki said. "They gave me a lot of support over the years, but from now on I want to throw for the BayStars."

The right-handed closer told Seattle officials last month he wanted to forfeit the final year of his contract and return to Japan. Sasaki, Seattle's career saves leader with 129, gave up on $8.5 million by not returning to the Mariners.

Sasaki was 1-2 with 10 saves and a 4.05 ERA last season and was on the disabled list twice.

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