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BASEBALL PLAYOFFS / NATIONAL LEAGUE | NOTES

Padres Decline Gwynn's Option

October 05, 2000|From Times Wire Services

The San Diego Padres decided not to pick up Tony Gwynn's $6-million option next year, but they still want the eight-time National League batting champion back at a lower salary.

"The message here shouldn't be that we've given up on Tony Gwynn," Padre General Manager Kevin Towers said Wednesday. "It should be that we'd like to see something happen at between $2 million and $6 million."

Gwynn got a $2-million signing bonus last spring in exchange for the Padres holding the option for 2001 with a $2-million buyout. Next year's salary would have become guaranteed if Gwynn made 502 plate appearances, but he had knee surgery in June and had only 127 at-bats.

"I've been here 19 years, so obviously this is where I want to be. That hasn't changed," Gwynn said. "All things considered, I've got to do what's best for me. If being here is best for me, then that's where I'll be. If not, then I'll have to go somewhere else."

Gwynn, 40, batted .323 in his 19th season. But the injury sidelined the 15-time All-Star for all but 36 games. It was the fifth time in 11 seasons that an injury shortened Gwynn's season.

"It's a difficult situation for me because I'm looking forward to getting healthy," Gwynn said. "Money is not part of the issue. I just want to play."

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The Angels activated pitcher Jason Dickson and outfielders Mike Colangelo and Jeff DaVanon from the 60-day disabled list and designated them for assignment.

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Television ratings were down from last year for the opening day of the major league baseball playoffs.

ESPN averaged a 3.05 national rating for its two division series games Monday, slightly lower than the 3.2 it drew for a doubleheader in 1999.

The cable network's telecast of the St. Louis Cardinals' 7-5 victory over the Atlanta Braves, which started at 10 a.m. Monday, drew a 2.86 rating. ESPN's broadcast of Seattle's 7-4 victory over the White Sox, which started at 1 p.m., drew a 3.21. Last year's game times were 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.

NBC showed Monday's American League game between the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics, which the A's won, 5-3, but gave affiliates the option of airing that or the presidential debate between Al Gore and George W. Bush.

About a third of NBC's 222 affiliates chose the debate. Those stations, though, cover about 50% of the country's TV households.

In markets where the debate was shown, NBC arranged for the game to be aired on Pax or independent channels.

Each rating point represents slightly more than 1 million television households for NBC, and about 795,000 on ESPN.

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Carlos Rosario Rodriguez, a shortstop from the Dominican Republic, celebrated his 17th birthday by signing a $700,000 contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

It was the highest bonus the club has given a player from outside the U.S., Phillie director of scouting Mike Arbuckle said.

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