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Ending point finally near for Rangers purchase

MINNEAPOLIS — Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan and sports lawyer Chuck Greenberg have had a long, difficult struggle to gain ownership of the Rangers.

It's almost over.

The MLB ownership committee and executive council both unanimously approved the sale Wednesday at the quarterly owners' meetings. All that remains for the sale to be completed is a final vote of all teams today, which appears to be a formality.

"I'm delighted we took the first two steps (Wednesday) in unanimity," commissioner Bud Selig said. Today "we'll come out after the meeting and tell you how the final vote came, but I suppose you could probably guess that."

The acquisition from current owner Tom Hicks had been delayed then ended up in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The team's May filing included a plan to sell to the Greenberg-Ryan group, chosen as the new owner in January, but angry creditors successfully argued to reopen the bidding. The court fight dragged on for 11 weeks and included a contentious auction with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban last week.

The Greenberg-Ryan group won with a bid valued at $590 million.

Greenberg said everything went smoothly, and he was looking forward to putting the rancor of the past few months behind him and getting to work.

CLOSER ARRESTED: Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez is in custody after what police called a "physical assault" on his father-in-law at Citi Field after Wednesday's loss. Police said the right-hander will be charged with third-degree assault. They said the father-in-law was hospitalized with a scrape on his face and a bump on his head.

Also, a Florida woman who accused LHP Johan Santana of rape sued him after authorities declined to prosecute the case. The lawsuit filed in Lee County accused Santana of wrongful imprisonment and rape in southwest Florida in October 2009.

CHIPPER OPTIMISTIC: Braves 3B Chipper Jones said he was sore but improving a day after he sprained his left knee. He is expected to get an MRI exam in Atlanta today and told MLB.com that he doesn't expect it to reveal a serious injury.

STAR PROGRESSING: Phillies 2B Chase Utley was cleared to start hitting, six weeks after surgery on his right thumb. Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said the news is encouraging, but the team's best player still isn't likely to return for another two weeks.

OBITUARY: Nellie King, a former Pirates pitcher then a popular announcer for the club, died in Pittsburgh after several years of health problems. He was 82. Mr. King, a right-hander, appeared in 95 games for the Pirates from 1954-57, all but four as a reliever. He was a broadcaster for the team from 1967-75, working alongside Bob Prince.

GIANTS ADD DEPTH: San Francisco looked only as far as the visitor's clubhouse to add infield depth, acquiring Mike Fontenot from the Cubs for Class A CF Evan Crawford. Fontenot was available to the Giants for the game.

A'S: RHP Ben Sheets, already scheduled to have his flexor and pronator tendons repaired, also had Tommy John surgery and is unlikely to pitch until 2012.

DODGERS: C Russell Martin will miss the rest of the season with a fractured hip, but the team hopes he can avoid surgery. … SS Rafael Furcal went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained lower back. INF Juan Castro was called up from Triple-A Albuquerque.

MARLINS: LF Chris Coghlan, the former East Lake standout, had left knee surgery and started his rehabilitation.

RED SOX: C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, acquired from the Rangers on July 31, was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket. C Kevin Cash went on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring injury.

WHITE SOX: DH Andruw Jones was scratched because of a sore back, and 2B Gordon Beckham returned after missing two games with a strained groin.

Ending point finally near for Rangers purchase 08/11/10 [Last modified: Thursday, August 12, 2010 1:16am]
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