Sale’s de­lay could cost Texas dearly

Bank­ruptcy judge to de­cide whether to post­pone auc­tion

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

FORT WORTH — Keep­ing the Texas Rangers in bank­ruptcy court by de­lay­ing the Aug. 4 auc­tion will hurt the team and maybe even cost them slug­ger Josh Hamil­ton af­ter this sea­son, Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan told a fed­eral bank­ruptcy judge Wed­nes­day.

Ryan said he was tes­ti­fy­ing in his ca­pac­ity as the team’s pres­i­dent, al­though he and Pitts­burgh sports at­tor­ney Chuck Green­berg have the en­dorse­ment of Ma­jor League Base­ball to buy the Rangers and want to close the deal soon. The sale was de­layed for months by an­gry cred­i­tors and is now part of a con­tentious bank­ruptcy case.

Cred­i­tors and even the court-ap­pointed re­struc­tur­ing of­fi­cer want the auc­tion de­layed so other bid­ders can line up fi­nanc­ing. U.S. Bank­ruptcy Judge D. Michael Lynn is to de­cide to­day whether to de­lay the auc­tion af­ter hear­ing more tes­ti­mony.

Ryan said the team needs to exit bank­ruptcy to have enough money for ac­qui­si­tions and ex­pected in­creases in some play­ers’ salaries.

Hamil­ton, whose .357 bat­ting av­er­age through Tues­day leads the ma­jor leagues, signed a one-year, $3.25 mil­lion con­tract with the Rangers in Jan­uary. Ryan said he could com­mand a salary of $8 mil­lion to $10 mil­lion next year. Hamil­ton won’t be el­i­gi­ble for free agency this off­sea­son, but if he and the Rangers can’t strike a deal on his salary for 2011, he is el­i­gi­ble for salary ar­bi­tra­tion.

“I don’t know that I want to be there (if) Josh Hamil­ton doesn’t come back next year,” Ryan said. High player, ap­pears to be re­cov­ered from the in­flamed pitch­ing shoul­der that has dis­abled him since May 24, a far longer re­cov­ery than ini­tially ex­pected.

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