FORT WORTH, Texas - Got half a billion dollars? The Rangers are set to go on the auction block next week after an unexpected snag in the team's bankruptcy plans.
Don't call your banker just yet. Major League Baseball will decide who can participate in the auction based on some strict guidelines, including a $1.5 million deposit and an opening bid of more than $500 million. And the league still can reject the highest bidder and select the runnerup.
Experts suggest the narrow limits are a maneuver to push through the long-delayed sale to MLB's preferred buyer, a group led by Hall of Fame pitcher and team president Nolan Ryan and Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck Greenberg.
"This bankruptcy has turned into a fiasco, a three-ring circus, and this auction is very unusual in the sports world," said Wayne McDonnell, a professor at New York University's Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management. "The auction is on the up-and-up, but this favors the Greenberg-Ryan group based on the time constraints."
The team filed court documents late Monday seeking the auction, following the suggestion of a court-appointed restructuring officer who will recommend whether the Rangers' bankruptcy plan should be approved at a July 22 hearing. Potential bidders have about 10 days to pull details together for the July 16 auction.
A-ROD AT FUNDRAISER: Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez is scheduled to attend a fundraiser Aug.19 for a New York foundation that educates youth about the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs. Rodriguez vowed to work with the Taylor Hooton Foundation when he admitted to steroid use last year.
HOME RUN DERBY: Yankees 2B Robinson Cano, Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera, Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Blue Jays CF Vernon Wells will represent the AL in Monday's event. Brewers RF Corey Hart and Cardinals LF Matt Holliday will participate for the NL, with two more to be announced.
BREWERS: All-Star RHP Yovani Gallardo went on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain.
CARDINALS: RHP Brad Penny was sent back to St. Louis after feeling tightness in his injured right arm during a bullpen session.
INDIANS: 1B Matt LaPorta was given the night off a day after taking an accidental elbow to the head from the Rangers' Elvis Andrus.
METS: SS Jose Reyes returned to the lineup after being out for nearly a week with lower back tightness.
ORIOLES: RHP Kevin Millwood went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right forearm.
PHILLIES: LHP J.A. Happ was activated from the disabled list and sent to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Happ had been out with a left forearm strain since April.
REDS: RHP Aaron Harang went on the 15-day disabled list with lower back spasms.
ROCKIES: LHP Jorge De La Rosa, out since April 25 with a torn tendon in his left middle finger, will return to the rotation Friday, sending RHP Jhoulys Chacin to the bullpen.
WHITE SOX: RF Carlos Quentin was out of the starting lineup with a sore left knee.