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Notebook:: Mariners might play in China

The Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres are being considered by Major League Baseball for possible exhibition games in China during spring training.

The games would be played during the second week of March, two baseball officials familiar with the planning said Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the trip was still in the planning stages.

“It does put a little inconvenience into spring training, but the experience far outweighs that. I think it’s a valuable experience and could be good for baseball,” Dodgers player representative Mark Hendrickson said.

Bob DuPuy, baseball’s chief operating officer, has pushed for the games, which would be played at the ballpark built for next year’s Olympics in Beijing.

“I asked our players’ union, and we’re one of four or five teams they’re considering. Nothing’s been finalized,” Mariners player rep Willie Bloomquist said. “If it happens, great – a new experience. If not, nothing lost. The biggest issue is the travel there and back, with all the traveling we already do.”

La Russa says little

Tony La Russa had little to say about speculation he will leave the St. Louis Cardinals after a dozen seasons to manage the Mariners next season.

“No reaction,” La Russa said.

“Nothing to it?” La Russa was asked.

“I don’t think so,” he said.

There has been speculation that La Russa and general manager Walt Jocketty might leave after the season for the Cincinnati Reds or the Mariners.

Clearing the bases

The New York Yankees have sold more than 4.26 million tickets for this season to break the franchise record of 4,243,780 set last year. … Boston Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima won’t pitch for several days because of a tired arm. … Brewers ace Ben Sheets traveled back to Milwaukee for an MRI exam on his injured left hamstring. … The Cleveland Indians announced a partnership with IMG, the sports media and marketing giant, to help it find a naming rights partner for Jacobs Field.


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Lynn Hickey named athletic director at Eastern Washington University

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updated  Her first choice was the right one, Eastern Washington President Mary Cullinan has decided. Lynn Hickey, whom Cullinan hired as interim athletic director 10 weeks ago, is now the school’s permanent Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics, university officials confirmed Tuesday night.