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MLB GIVES ITS OKAY TO SALARY DUMP

The Marlins' latest payroll purge received final approval from the commissioner's office, and as a conference call began, a bad connection generated waves of reverberating noise. It seemed an appropriate capper to a trade that helped Miami pare $154 million from its payroll and made the Jays instant contenders. In a statement, commissioner Bud Selig said the deal "represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment on the part of both clubs."

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OUT OF BOUNDS

Snoop eyeing bid for soccer club

Hip-hop star Snoop Lion, formerly Snoop Dogg, wants to buy a share of soccer club Celtic FC of the Scottish Premier League. The rapper told the U.K.'s Daily Record he was inspired after watching the club beat Barcelona in the Champions League this month. He said he may try to talk friend David Beckham into signing up for a season.

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MASCOT(S) OF THE DAY

They really are pretty mean birds

The Phillies' Double-A affiliate tweaked its name and added an ... ostrich? The newly dubbed Reading Fightin Phils will have the pugnacious bird, complete with balled fists, as its mascot. It's a reference to a running gag, the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor, who "rides" on the field in an ostrich costume.

- Then there's this from the Stockton Ports, the Athletics' Class A affiliate: A new logo "honoring Stockton's heritage as the largest in-land port in California and the Asparagus Capital of the World." The mascot, 5 O'clock Dock, is decorated with baseball tattoos and wields an asparagus club.

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