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Rose may manage Western League team in Sacramento

Pete Rose and the Sacramento Steelheads, who begin play in the independent Western League this summer, are close to an agreement that would make him manager, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Rose's agent, John Esposito, said Wednesday he has had several negotiating sessions the past few weeks with Steelheads owner Bruce Portner and he is optimistic a deal will be worked out to make the most prolific hitter in major-league history manager.

"We'll be talking Monday to determine whether this is the right opportunity for Pete," Esposito said. "It seems like it's got a chance, but we still got a lot of work to do."

The hiring of Rose would be a publicity bonanza for the Steelheads.

Rose would bring one of the most famous images in the game to Sacramento, which hasn't had a professional baseball team for 22 years. He also would bring his reputation as a renegade to a league that thrives on its outsider status.

In 1989, then-commissioner Bart Giamatti banned Rose from baseball after he concluded Rose gambled on games while managing the Cincinnati Reds from 1984 to 1989. Rose, who later served five months in federal prison for tax evasion on undeclared income from baseball card shows, admitted only to gambling at the horse track on occasion. The ban doesn't extend to affiliations such as the Western League, which operates outside Major League Baseball's farm system.

Portner cautioned that there are still many details to be worked out before signing Rose. "We've agreed on financial terms and should have everything else pinned down one way or another in the next few days," he said.

Rose, 56, has maintained a high profile in recent years, running a restaurant in Boca Raton, hosting a sports radio talk show and making appearances at memorabilia events.

During his 24-year playing career, Rose set records for hits (4,256), games played (3,562) and at-bats (14,053).

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