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Thursday, October 19, 1995 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Baseball -- Virginia To Get Astros? -- Sale Talks Under Way, Houston Owner Says

AP

HOUSTON - An Astrodome without Astros?

Drayton McLane Jr., owner of the Houston Astros, confirmed yesterday that discussions are under way about a possible sale of the club to a group headed by Virginia businessman Bill Collins.

Collins' group reportedly wants to move the National League team first to Washington, D.C., then to its Northern Virginia suburbs.

WTTG-TV in Washington quoted unidentified sources saying the main focus of Collins' pursuit has become the Astros. In the past, Collins reportedly has pursued franchises in Pittsburgh, Montreal, Seattle and San Francisco.

McLane told KRIV-TV in Houston that the Astros have lost $65 million since he bought the club three years ago and that he and Collins have talked on three occasions.

"And he was looking at all the clubs that had weak franchises - you know, poor attendance," McLane told the station in a telephone interview.

WMAR-TV in Baltimore reported that the Collins group would pay almost $160 million for the Astros.

The Astros' financial losses are "extremely devastating," McLane said.

SHOWALTER TO RETURN?

NEW YORK - After speculation that Davey Johnson, Tony La Russa and Sparky Anderson were candidates to manage the New York Yankees, owner George Steinbrenner says he wants Buck Showalter to return.

The New York Post today said Steinbrenner made public his wish to retain Showalter, who has the longest tenure of any Yankee manager since Steinbrenner became the team's owner in 1973.

Showalter, hired in late 1991, signed a three-year contract that ends Oct. 31.

"I'm going to do my best to convince him to stay with us," Steinbrenner told the Post. "I like Buck. He's one of my guys. I'm responsible for him getting the job in the first place."

Steinbrenner must decide on a new general manager after Gene Michael's resignation yesterday. Michael, who quit rather than take a $200,000 pay cut, will become the team's director of major-league scouting.

NOTES

-- Former Cincinnati manager Davey Johnson said the Cardinals want to interview him for their managerial vacancy. Johnson met Tuesday with Orioles owner Peter Angelos.

Copyright (c) 1995 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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