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Pittsburgh mayor: Pirates need bailout

The Pittsburgh Pirates need an emergency bailout of $8-million during the next year to stay in business, mayor Tom Murphy said Friday. He released a 12-page review of team finances that showed the team had told the truth when it pleaded poverty and claimed its lease at Three Rivers Stadium was probably the worst ballpark deal in the major leagues. The $8-million could come from public and private funds, including a 1-percent addition to the sales tax in Pittsburgh and its suburbs, Murphy said. The mayor is trying to put together a package to pay the Pirates' bills. The 107-year-old franchise owes Citibank $20-million, and a $5-million payment is due in August, said Pirates president Mark Sauer. "If the Pirates were a household, what we have would be the equivalent of them borrowing money against their mortgage to pay their utility bills and everyday expenses," he said. The Pirates lost $2.9-million in 1991, $12.3-million in 1992 and $9.6-million last year, according to Murphy's report, which was prepared by the Buchanan Ingersoll law firm.

ATLANTA: Chipper Jones, one of three rookie candidates for the leftfield job opened by Ron Gant's broken right leg, had three hits, including a home run, and drove in two runs in the Braves' loss to the Red Sox. Steve Bedrosian's newly purchased Army jeep _ with a machine gun mounted between the front and back seats _ attracted considerable attention in Atlanta's camp at West Palm Beach. The reliever arrived Friday dressed for the occasion, in a full Army camouflage outfit, including a helmet, combat boots and sunglasses. "Everything works, except for the gun," Bedrosian said of the 1951 vehicle he bought for $11,000.

CHICAGO: Sammy Sosa hit two home runs and drove in five runs, and Shawon Dunston went 2-for-2 with a home run and played flawlessly at shortstop in the Cubs' win over the Giants. Dunston has been out of action for two years because of back troubles. Cubs rookie starter Steve Trachsel picked up the win with three perfect innings.

COLORADO: Howard Johnson, signed as a free agent after nine seasons with the Mets, homered in his first at-bat, against the Angels. Herm Winningham, trying for a job as a utility player, hit a double and two singles as the Rockies got 14 hits.

FLORIDA: The team christened Space Coast Stadium with a victory over the Royals. Gary Sheffield, trying to make the switch from third base to rightfield, had two putouts and made a strong throw when David Howard tried to score from second on a single. Catcher Benito Santiago dropped the ball.

LOS ANGELES: Two days after breaking his left cheekbone, second baseman Delino DeShields went through a full workout without problem. He is scheduled to have outpatient surgery Monday to pop the bone back into place, and said he should be playing in exhibition games in about a week. DeShields was struck by a bat that slipped from Mike Busch's hands during batting practice Wednesday.

MONTREAL: Nearly a year after he broke a toe in a fit of temper, reliever John Wetteland was injured by a line drive during an intrasquad game at West Palm Beach. Wetteland, who set a Montreal record with 43 saves in 49 opportunities last year, got a bruise below the left kneecap when struck by a line drive off the bat of non-roster player Matt Allen. "It's not a big deal," he said.

NEW YORK: Frank Seminara, one of four pitchers competing for the final spot in the Mets' rotation, gave up seven hits and six runs (five earned) in 1 innings, earning the loss in the Mets' 6-1 defeat by Los Angeles. For a Brooklyn native who grew up worshiping the Mets, it was not exactly a dream come true. "It's one of those things that happens," Seminara said. "I guess I have to go out there next time and look for improvement."

SAN DIEGO: Dave Staton hit a two-run homer against the Mariners. With the Padres trailing 9-6 in the ninth, Ray McDavid's bid for a game-tying, three-run homer to rightfield fell several feet short.

SAN FRANCISCO: Barry Bonds, last year's NL most valuable player, had a two-run triple in a loss to the Cubs. Bryan Hickerson took the loss, allowing four runs on three hits, including two home runs, in 2 innings.

_ TIMES WIRES

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