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New boss vows Dodger rebirth

Frank McCourt talks a good game. Time will tell if his team plays enough of them.

The $430-million sale of the Dodgers from News Corp. to McCourt was unanimously approved by baseball owners Thursday, more than 3{ months after the sides reached an agreement.

Under scrutiny over his finances and a target of local criticism, McCourt made some bold promises at a Dodger Stadium news conference.

"Welcome to a new era of Dodger baseball," he said. "I intend to restore the glory days of Dodger baseball with a team worthy of support from our fans. We've committed not just to buy this team, but to win a world championship."

The Dodgers haven't won a postseason game since beating Oakland in the 1988 World Series.

Dodgers chief executive officer Robert Daly has said he will depart when the sale closes. McCourt refused to discuss the futures of team president Bob Graziano, general manager Dan Evans and manager Jim Tracy.

GIANTS: Closer Robb Nen said he doesn't understand why his chances of pitching this season are being written off. The right-hander told the San Francisco Chronicle he has been preparing physically and mentally to reclaim his role. "I definitely feel if I come back, I'm the closer. That's my mind-set," Nen said.

REDS: Utility player John Vander Wal had surgery for a knee injury sustained while shoveling snow and might miss part of spring training.

YANKEES: Right-hander Jon Lieber threw 50 pitches in the bullpen during his first workout at the minor-league complex in Tampa. Lieber did not pitch in the majors last season after reconstructive elbow surgery in August 2002.

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