- The Washington Times - Friday, February 27, 2009

From combined dispatches

Manny Ramirez has rejected yet another offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Dodgers announced Thursday night the star outfielder’s agent Scott Boras had declined the offer - a one-year, $25 million contract with a $20 million player option for 2010 - the club’s fourth this offseason.

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt says he wants Ramirez back “but we feel we are negotiating against ourselves.”

General manager Ned Colletti and McCourt met Wednesday in Los Angeles with Boras.

The offer is similar to the two-year, $45 million deal with a buyout or club option that the Dodgers put on the table in November. Ramirez refused the offer and the Dodgers withdrew their proposal. The team came back with a one-year, $25 million offer, but Ramirez turned that down as well. Ramirez also turned down salary arbitration.

“Even with an economy that has substantially eroded since last November, out of respect for Manny and his talents, we actually improved our offer,” McCourt said.

“So now, we start from scratch.”

Also, the club agreed to a minor league contract with first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz.

The 34-year-old Mientkiewicz, who has played for six major league teams during his 11-year career, won a Gold Glove with Minnesota in 2001.

MARINERS: Ken Griffey Jr.’s first spring game in his return to Seattle likely won’t come until Wednesday night against the Australian national team.

When asked whether Griffey’s return was timed to coincide with the team’s first spring game with a live television broadcast in Seattle, manager Don Wakamatsu laughed and said, “You’re sharp.”

“No. That was the day it fell,” he said. “Just trying to slow him down a little bit. … Probably the safest thing right now is to give him some more time hitting and moving around out here.”

YANKEES: Alex Rodriguez was told to keep his cousin away from the team.

The message was given to the star third baseman Thursday, said a person familiar with the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity. The message applied both to spring training and the regular season, the person said.

Rodriguez also was told the cousin should not be anywhere the team gathers, which presumably includes the team’s hotel when it travels and the ballpark.

A day earlier in Dunedin, Fla., Rodriguez homered and walked twice, then got into a SUV driven by Yuri Sucart. He has been identified as the cousin who provided Rodriguez with performance-enhancing drugs obtained in the Dominican Republic. Rodriguez admitted using them while playing for Texas from 2001 to 2003.

BONDS: Media companies urged a federal judge in San Francisco to allow access to the completed questionnaires from potential jurors in Barry Bonds’ perjury trial.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ordered last week that the answers provided on the forms, which are intended to root out bias in selecting a jury, should be off-limits to the public. There are more than 60 questions on the forms, including potential jurors’ opinion of Bonds and whether they’ve followed the issue of steroid use in professional sports.

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