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Saturday, November 11, 1995 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Baseball -- Diamondbacks Want Showalter -- Ex-Yankee Manager Reportedly Will Sign Seven-Year Contract

AP

PHOENIX - Four days after discussions with Arizona Diamondbacks officials, former New York Yankees manager Buck Showalter has agreed to sign on as the expansion team's first manager, ESPN reported yesterday.

According to ESPN, Showalter, who was let go Nov. 1 by Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, will sign a seven-year deal next week with the Diamondbacks, who don't begin play until 1998.

Jerry Colangelo, the Diamondbacks managing general partner and Phoenix Suns president, could not be reached for comment, but Suns operations assistant Seth Sulka said some team officials were not aware of the "good news."

"We were not aware that anything was official or close to being official," Sulka said Friday night.

Showalter will manage in the minor leagues in 1996 and 1997 and then be moved to the major-league club in 1998, ESPN said.

MATTINGLY FILES FOR FREE AGENCY

NEW YORK - Don Mattingly formally severed ties with the New York Yankees yesterday and filed for free agency but will continue to negotiate with the team.

Mattingly, 34, has been with the Yankees organization since he was drafted in 1979. The Yankees say they want him to remain in New York and his agent, Jim Krivacs, has spoken with the team several times about a new contract.

Four other players filed yesterday, increasing the total to 135 with two days remaining in the filing period. Joining Mattingly were Yankee teammate Wade Boggs, Texas Ranger pitchers Danny Darwin and Jeff Russell and San Diego Padre pitcher Fernando Valenzuela.

Three players who were eligible agreed to deals. Jeff King, who had a $2.16 million salary in 1995, got a $5 million, two-year deal from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He'll get $2.5 million in each of the next two seasons.

Ken Caminiti and the San Diego Padres agreed to a two-year contract worth $6.1 million. The third baseman will get $3.05 million in each of the next two seasons.

Catcher Ron Karkovice got a two-year contract from the Chicago White Sox worth $3,675,000.

HOUSTON TO GET ONE MORE YEAR

HOUSTON - Owner Drayton McLane Jr. will keep the Astros in Houston for the 1996 season but he issued an ultimatum to the city: Fill the Astrodome or say goodbye to the franchise in a year. To sell the team, McLane would need approval from 10 of 14 NL owners and eight of 14 AL owners. Baseball officials made it clear they were opposed to a move.

A group headed by Virginia businessman Bill Collins had been trying to buy the team and Collins said his efforts would continue.

Meanwhile, Gerry Hunsicker, the assistant vice president of baseball operations for the New York Mets, was hired as the Astros' new general manager.

NOTES

-- The Major League Baseball Players Association is sponsoring the Golden Spikes Award. The award, given to the college player of the year, will be presented Nov. 14. Among the finalists are Rice outfielder Jose Cruz Jr. - the Mariners' top pick in this year's amateur free-agent draft - and USC outfielder Geoff Jenkins.

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

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