CHICAGO - The owner of the Cubs threatened Wednesday to move the team out of Wrigley Field if his plans for a big, new video screen are blocked, saying he needs millions of dollars in ad revenue to help bankroll the renovation of the storied ballpark.
It was the first time during months of contentious negotiations over plans for a $500 million renovation of the 99-year-old stadium that Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has threatened to move the team out of the lively North Side neighborhood of Wrigleyville.
"The fact is that if we don't have the ability to generate revenue in our own outfield, we'll have to take a look at moving, no question," Ricketts told reporters after outlining renovation plans to Chicago business leaders.
He said he remained committed to working out a deal.
By far the thorniest issue is the plan for a 6,000-square-foot video screen over leftfield, as seen in many major-league ballparks. The difference is that Wrigley Field - the second oldest ballpark in baseball behind Fenway Park in Boston - is surrounded by privately owned clubs with rooftop bleachers whose owners object to any changes that could block their bird's-eye views into the stadium.
The rooftop businesses have been left out of discussions on the proposed upgrade, but they feel they should have a seat at the bargaining table because they have a contract in which they share 17 percent of their revenue with the Cubs.
In other Cubs news, RHP Matt Garza pitched 22/3 innings in his first rehab start, giving up one run, one hit and two walks for Double-A Tennessee against Mississippi. The former Ray has been out since July 21 with an elbow injury.
ASTROS: RHP Jordan Lyles is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City to start tonight against the Tigers.
A'S: OF Coco Crisp (strained left hamstring) and LHP Brett Anderson (sore right ankle) went on the 15-day disabled list.
BLUE JAYS: Right-hander R.A. Dickey was diagnosed with mild inflammation in his neck and back and will get an extra day of rest before his next start Saturday.
BREWERS: 3B Aramis Ramirez, out since April 5 with a sprained left knee, is expected to return to the lineup Friday.
DODGERS: LHP Clayton Kershaw, who is on bereavement leave after the death of his father, should return to the rotation Friday, manager Don Mattingly told ESPN.
INDIANS: 1B Nick Swisher was out of the lineup for the second straight game because of a sore left shoulder.
NATIONALS: RHP Stephen Strasburg is expected to make his next scheduled start after experiencing no pain during a bullpen session.
RANGERS: LHP Matt Harrison had a setback in his recovery and needed another operation eight days after surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back.
REDS: RHP Johnny Cueto, out since April 13 with a strained lat muscle, was cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment and is set to start Friday at Double-A Pensacola.
TIGERS: LH reliever Phil Coke went on the 15-day disabled list with a left groin strain, and RHP Jose Ortega was recalled from Triple-A Toledo. ... RH reliever Bruce Rondon optioned to Triple-A Toledo. RH reliever Luke Putkonen is expected to be called up before tonight's game.