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Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
Major League Baseball
By The Associated Press and Chicago Tribune
DENVER Denny Neagle's second run-in with the law in a little more than a year cost him his job with the Colorado Rockies.
The Rockies terminated the oft-injured pitcher's contract yesterday, three days after he was cited for solicitation.
"This decision is about an organization and the fans that support it," Rockies chairman Charles Monfort said. "Denny's pattern of behavior has not been consistent with what our organization represents."
Neagle, who has not pitched in more than a year because of injuries, was pulled over by police Friday in suburban Lakewood for allegedly speeding. Police said a woman in Neagle's car told them he had paid her $40 for oral sex.
Neagle's agent, Barry Meister, declined comment. The players' association could file a grievance to overturn the team's decision and get Neagle the remaining money owed under the contract.
Neagle, 36, was issued a court summons for Jan. 27. The woman, Jill Russell of Denver, was issued a citation on a charge of prostitution and a court summons for Jan. 13.
Last October, Neagle was charged with drunken driving after he drove his sport-utility vehicle into the back of another vehicle. Later in 2003, he pleaded guilty.
The left-hander, who agreed to a $51 million, five-year contract in December 2000, is owed $19 million by the Rockies: $10 million in 2005 and a $9 million buyout of a $12.5 million team option for 2006.
He last pitched on July 20, 2003, and in the past 14 months has had elbow-ligament surgery and shoulder surgery. Neagle has a 124-92 career record with a 4.24 earned-run average.
White Sox are unlikely to keep Ordonez
The White Sox have until tonight to offer arbitration to Ordonez, but appear resigned to losing him because they still haven't been able to evaluate his surgically repaired left knee.
The White Sox could offer Ordonez salary arbitration, knowing there are plenty of other teams who will have interest in a 30-year-old who is a career .307 hitter with 187 homers and 703 runs batted in. But if Ordonez accepted arbitration, he would get a salary close to the $14 million he made last season.
Dodgers sign Ledee
LOS ANGELES The Los Angeles Dodgers signed Ricky Ledee to a two-year, $2.5 million contract, giving them a left-handed pinch-hitter and more depth in the outfield.
Ledee, 31, has spent seven seasons in the major leagues, with five clubs. He split time with Philadelphia and San Francisco last season, hitting .233 with seven home runs and 30 RBI in 104 games.
The expected return of Nomar Garciaparra and Todd Walker today will leave general manager Jim Hendry of the Chicago Cubs with two major items on his offseason to-do list replacing outfielder Moises Alou and finding a new home for slugger Sammy Sosa.
Backup catcher Todd Pratt is returning to Philadelphia, agreeing to a $750,000, one-year contract.
Commissioner Bud Selig, 70, had surgery to remove a cancerous lesion from his forehead. He is expected to return to work later this week.
Selig said he would accept government intervention on steroid testing if the players' association refuses to change the current rules, which run for two more years. Union head Donald Fehr was at the union's annual executive board meeting in Phoenix.
Officials of the union and management have met several times since May to discuss Selig's call for changes. Fehr said talks will resume after the weeklong meeting of the union's executive board, which began yesterday.
Reporters were barred from the lobby by Royal Palms Resort and Spa, preventing them from having access to most players at the meeting.
Hal McRae, a former major-league manager, was hired by the St. Louis Cardinals as their hitting coach, joining a high-scoring team that slumped against Boston in the World Series.
McRae, 59, replaced Mitchell Page, who held the job for 3-1/2 seasons before he was let go in October to seek help at an alcohol-treatment site near his California home. McRae got a two-year contract.
The Cardinals hired Jim Riggleman, another former big-league manager, as their minor-league field coordinator. Riggleman, 52, was the bench coach in Los Angeles for the past four seasons.
Gil Hodges, Tony Oliva and Ron Santo head 25 candidates on the 2005 ballot for the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee. Santo, 64, is a graduate of Franklin High School in Seattle.
Sparky Lyle, Jim Kaat, Luis Tiant and "Smoky" Joe Wood have been added to the ballot this year.
Results of voting will be announced in March.
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