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K.C. Chiefs owner Hunt makes bid to buy Royals

Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt wants to buy his city's baseball team to "assure that the Royals will remain in Kansas City."

Hunt, a sports entrepreneur joined in the bid by Western Resources utility, called the venture "very important to Mid-America."

He announced his plans Tuesday, the deadline to submit preliminary bids for the franchise. He said his bid is competitive but would not elaborate. It is not clear how many bids have been submitted.

"The ball is now in the Royals' court," Hunt said.

The NFL owner said talks between his family and Western Resources began last month. He said if the bid goes through, ownership will be evenly divided, with the Hunts the managing partner.

The Royals have been without an owner since its founder, Ewing Kauffman, died in 1993. Royals president Mike Herman has said he hopes to have a new owner identified by the All-Star break in July.

BLUE JAYS: Dave Stieb's comeback took another step forward even though the 40-year-old right-hander was charged with Triple-A Syracuse's 1-0 loss to Rochester. Stieb, trying to come back after six years of retirement, threw only 78 pitches, 53 for strikes, in his complete game. Stieb was 2-0 at Class-A Dunedin before moving up to Syracuse.

INDIANS: Phil Hiatt was signed to a minor-league contract and sent to Triple-A Buffalo. Hiatt was in the Yankees' spring training camp.

MARINERS: OF Jay Buhner had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and will be sidelined for at least six weeks ... Ken Griffey Jr. was 0-for-3 against Tim Belcher. He is 2-for-27 lifetime against Belcher, a .074 batting average.

ORIOLES: RHP Mike Mussina was able to throw all of his pitches during a 12-minute bullpen session. He is able to come off the DL on Sunday. Scott Kamieniecki, another pitcher on the DL, had an MRI and arthrogram performed on his inflamed right elbow by team orthopedist Dr. Michael Jacobs, and the tests came back normal.

RED SOX: LHP Steve Avery, who pinch-ran more than he pitched the past week, accepted an option to Triple-A Pawtucket. Avery (9.64 ERA in nine games) will remain with Pawtucket the next 19 days. "He needs work," manager Jimy Williams said. "He's getting stale." 3B Tim Naehring is scheduled to have scar tissue removed from his right elbow during a surgical procedure Thursday at UMass Medical Center.

ROYALS: Dean Palmer set a team record for RBI in April with 24 and tied Bo Jackson's record of eight home runs for the month.

YANKEES: New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman took a few swings in the game over where the team will play in the future. Whitman said her state is not trying to steal the Yankees and said New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is wrongly "making New Jersey the enemy" to divert attention from his tough stadium fight in New York. Giuliani on Monday warned New Jersey to back off on trying to lure the Yankees across the river, saying New York could raid New Jersey teams too.