NEW YORK Tribune Co. is inviting at least three potential buyers who each submitted bids for the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field near or above $1 billion to participate in a second round of proposals, according to a person involved in the process.
Several bidders offering between $700 million and $900 million for all the properties have been excluded from the second round, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of nondisclosure agreements governing all talk about the bids.
A Tribune spokeswoman said the baseball team would not have any comment on the status of the sale, which also includes the team's minority stake in a Chicago regional sports TV network.
Included in the second round are Internet billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban; the Ricketts family, which founded the brokerage that is now TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.; and a group led by Sports Acquisition Holding Corp. that includes former baseball home run king Henry Aaron and former Republican Congressman Jack Kemp. The last group is believed to be teaming with another bidder who submitted an offer in the initial round.
ROLLINS ARRIVES LATE, SCRATCHED FROM LINEUP: Star shortstop Jimmy Rollins was yanked from Philadelphia's lineup after arriving late to Shea Stadium on Thursday, making the reigning NL MVP a spectator for much of the Phillies' 3-1 loss in a key division matchup with the New York Mets.
Rollins, who was pulled from the Phillies' 5-0 win over Cincinnati on June 5 for failing to run hard on a popup that was dropped, said he got caught in traffic.
"We're not going to agree on this one," said Rollins, who met with manager Charlie Manuel before the game. "I agreed with him on the last one, but we're not going to agree on this one. Charlie's the manager. He doesn't want to set precedents for certain players. I understand that. It's already done. Me and Charlie spoke about it. It's done."
"That's one of our rules: Hustle and be on time," Manuel said. "That's all I want to say about Jimmy. We've got other things here."
Rollins batted for reliever J.C. Romero in the ninth and bounced into a fielder's choice for the final out, ending his 10-game hitting streak.
"I commend Charlie for standing up for the rules that he has," said pitcher Jamie Moyer, who allowed one run in seven innings for Philadelphia.
Rollins helped the Phillies catch the Mets and win the division title last year, becoming the first NL shortstop to win MVP since Cincinnati's Barry Larkin in 1995.
Batting mostly out of the leadoff spot, Rollins finished with a .296 batting average, 38 doubles, 20 triples, 30 homers, 41 steals, 94 RBIs and scored an NL-best 139 runs. He became the first player in major league history to have 30 doubles, 20 triples, 30 homers and 30 steals in one season. He is batting .269 with six homers and 35 RBIs in 78 games this year.
CUBS CLOSER WOOD PLACED ON DISABLED LIST: The Chicago Cubs placed closer Kerry Wood on the disabled list Thursday for the 12th time in his 10-year career because of a blister on his pitching hand.
Wood, who has 24 saves in 29 chances and was selected to the NL All-Star team, has a blister on his right index finger that has kept him out since July 11. Chicago general manager Jim Hendry hopes Wood can return Tuesday at Milwaukee when he is eligible to be activated. He was put on the DL retroactive to July 14.
"He is making progress. He is getting better. But I think with the amount of time off he's going to need a little work, whether it's a couple of (bullpen sessions)," Hendry said. "I just talked to him. He's hopeful he will be ready by Tuesday with some work under his belt."
Wood is 4-2 with a 3.02 ERA. He sat out the All-Star game last week at Yankee Stadium because of the blister.
"I think we all felt like we weren't worried about it at all before the break," Hendry said. "We thought the break would do him good, skipping New York would be great, and be ready to go in Houston. But obviously, he wasn't. But we all know the way Woody's been his whole life. If it gets to the point where he will just have to pitch through it with the discomfort, then I'm sure that's what he will do."
The Cubs, who opened a series against Florida on Thursday night, will make a corresponding move before Friday's game. Triple-A Iowa starter and former Notre Dame football star Jeff Samardzija is among the candidates.
"It's a possibility. We will probably see how the game goes," Hendry said. "He will be considered."
Samardzija, who signed a $10 million, five-year contract with the Cubs in 2007 despite speculation that he could have been a first-round pick in the NFL draft, made his debut for Iowa on June 24.
Samardzija is 4-1 with a 3.13 ERA for Iowa in six starts. He has 40 strikeouts in 37 1-3 innings.
ROYALS PUT GATHRIGHT ON DL, CALL UP MAIER: The Kansas City Royals placed outfielder Joey Gathright on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with a lingering shoulder injury and recalled outfielder Mitch Maier from Triple-A Omaha.
Gathright has been bothered by a bone bruise in his right shoulder this season. He tried taking pain medication after the All-Star break, but the injury didn't improve.
Royals manager Trey Hillman said it was likely Gathright wouldn't do much for a few days before starting rehab but didn't expect him to be out more than 15 days. The speedster is hitting .251 in 82 games with a team-leading 21 stolen bases in 25 attempts.
"He keeps fighting against it and it's a situation where it's really not going to get any better," Hillman said. "It's not like he can get an injection or anything because it's bone on bone. He's going to keep irritating it, so we put him on the DL so he can heal."
The 26-year-old Maier was hitting .316 with nine homers, 41 RBIs and 24 doubles in 85 games with Omaha. A former catcher and third baseman, Maier impressed Kansas City's coaches with a solid spring training and had played well in center for Omaha.
PADRES ACTIVATE BARD FROM DL: The San Diego Padres activated catcher Josh Bard from the 15-day disabled list Thursday before their game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Bard was hitting .200 with seven RBIs in 130 at-bats before he sprained his left ankle on May 21 against the St. Louis Cardinals. He was placed on the DL the next day. Bard batted .158 (3-for-19) with one home run during a nine-game rehabilitation assignment with Class-A Lake Elsinore and Triple-A Portland.
To make room for Bard on the roster, the Padres optioned catcher Luke Carlin to Portland.
Carlin, who was called up to the major leagues for the first time on May 9, hit .138 with two RBIs in 80 at-bats.
Also, the Padres called up left-hander Justin Hampson from Portland. Hampson was 0-1 with a 7.27 ERA in 10 appearances during a stint with the Padres earlier this season. Hampson replaces left-hander Joe Thatcher, who was optioned to Portland following Wednesday's 9-5 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.