- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 18, 2001

From combined dispatches
The Minnesota Twins and major league baseball told a state court in St. Paul, Minn., yesterday that an injunction forcing the team to play next season strips the sport's right to govern its own affairs.
The brief was the latest filing in a court case that could prevent baseball's owners from eliminating two franchises before next season, with the Twins believed to be one of the two. Oral arguments before the state Court of Appeals are scheduled for Dec. 27.
"The Minnesota Twins and major league baseball's case rests on the bedrock of Minnesota law: A business owner, and not a landlord or the government, is entitled to make the fundamental business decision of whether to continue to operate," attorneys for the Twins and MLB wrote.
RED SOX: Developer Frank McCourt dropped out of the bidding for the team but is talking to another group about building a stadium on his land near downtown, according to a source close to the negotiations.
McCourt had said he would only build the stadium on his site near the city's financial district if he wins the bidding for the team. But he is now talking to one other bidding group about cutting a deal and may talk to others if given permission from the team, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"At some point a marriage is possible, if not likely," the source said.
YANKEES: Rondell White signed a $10 million, two-year contract with New York.
White has hit .300 or better in each of the last four seasons and has a .295 career batting average in nine seasons.
GIANTS: San Francisco manager Dusty Baker had surgery for prostate cancer.
Baker, the three-time NL Manager of the Year, was operated on at Stanford Hospital, the team said in a statement. The 52-year-old Baker is expected to be at full strength for spring training.
INDIANS: Outfielder Matt Lawton, acquired by Cleveland in the eight-player deal that sent All-Star Roberto Alomar to the Mets, signed a four-year, $27 million contract.
Also, Ricky Gutierrez signed a three-year contract with Cleveland and will replace Alomar at second base.
DEVIL RAYS/ANGELS TRADE: Tampa Bay traded right-handed pitcher Mickey Callaway to Anaheim in exchange for infielder Wilmy Caceres.
BRAVES: Atlanta signed first baseman Julio Franco and catcher Eddie Perez to minor league contracts and invited both to spring training.

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