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Suns' Sale a Boon for Moreno

ANGEL REPORT

April 17, 2004|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

Arte Moreno struck gold again Friday, when the Phoenix Suns were sold in a deal that could return more than $30 million to the Angel owner.

Moreno, who lives in Phoenix, is a longtime limited partner in his hometown NBA team. The team was sold Friday for $401 million, to an investment group that includes former NBA stars Charles Barkley, Sean Elliott and Steve Kerr.

Moreno said he owned 8% of the team, which would put his return at $32 million. He also made about $20 million in recent months by selling 10% of the Angels to longtime business partner Bill Levine and 1% to his financial advisor, Bill Beverage. Moreno bought the Angels for $183.5 million last May.

The Suns' deal is expected to close June 30, with 65% of the purchase price due then and the balance in three years, according to Associated Press. Moreno said he did not regret that his pro sports ownership would now be limited to one sport.

"I'm a baseball guy, or at least I'm trying to be a baseball guy," he said. "I'm really committed to what we're doing here."

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In the Angel Stadium store displays of team jerseys for sale, several now include the name of pitcher Brendan Donnelly on the back. Angel spokesman Tim Mead said Friday the sale did not violate the ban that restricts Donnelly's name from appearing on licensed merchandise.

Because Donnelly served as a replacement player during the 1995 strike, he is ineligible for players' union membership, and the union prevents his name from inclusion on licensed merchandise. Mead said the ban remains in effect but said jerseys are not subject to licensing rules.

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Second baseman Adam Kennedy, who usually bats ninth for the Angels, began the weekend series with Oakland tied with A's cleanup hitter Jermaine Dye atop the American League with 12 runs batted in. The record for RBIs by a regular No. 9 hitter is 92 by Kevin Elster with Texas in 1996.

"He's taken advantage of the opportunities," Angel Manager Mike Scioscia said of Kennedy, whose career high for RBIs is 72 in 2000. "He's become more attuned to the situational game as his career has evolved."

Kennedy went 0 for 3 Friday. Dye hit a solo home run for his 13th RBI.

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Tonight's game against Oakland will be televised on Fox Sports Net 2 instead of Fox Sports Net because of a conflict with the Laker game. The Angels announced two other broadcast changes for next weekend's series at Oakland: Friday's game will be on Fox Sports Net and Sunday's game will be on Channel 9.

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Times staff writer Ben Bolch contributed to this report.

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