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Mondesi set to join Braves … or is he?

Associated Press

Raul Mondesi said he has agreed to terms with the Atlanta Braves on a one-year contract.

Mondesi told The Associated Press that he will earn $1 million, and that the deal includes performance bonuses that could bring the total value up to $1.7 million.

“I will travel to Atlanta tonight to take a physical early Friday, and the deal will be official afterward,” Mondesi said Thursday.

However, according to Braves spokesman Brad Hainje, assistant general manager Frank Wren said Mondesi’s claim was not true.

“We don’t have any news on Mondesi,” Hainje said. “There are a number of players we’re talking to. I don’t know if Mondesi is one of them.

“He has not signed with us, and we don’t have plans for an announcement today.”

Mondesi said he chose Atlanta over the Baltimore Orioles because the Braves offered him the starting right-field position. That spot opened when J.D. Drew signed a $55 million, five-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“The Orioles offered more money, but they didn’t guarantee a regular spot on the team,” Mondesi said. “I’m still a young man that can do many things on the field.”

Mondesi, 33, hit .241 with three home runs and 15 runs batted in during 34 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Anaheim Angels last season, when he was shadowed by off-the-field trouble.

Owners approve sale of Brewers

Major league owners unanimously approved the $223 million sale of the Milwaukee Brewers from the family of Commissioner Bud Selig to a group headed by Los Angeles investor Mark Attanasio.

The sale is to close today, when the ownership transfer will take place.

Smith to coach national team

Baylor coach Steve Smith was chosen baseball coach of the national team that will represent the United States this summer.

Smith, an assistant for the 1998 USA national team, will coach a team of college freshmen and sophomores scheduled to compete in Japan and Taiwan.

Smith is 372-234-1 at Baylor. He has led the team to two NCAA Super Regional appearances and the 2000 Big 12 Conference title.

Jazz owner buying Triple-A team

Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller is adding minor league baseball to his sports holdings.

The auto dealership mogul announced that he is buying the Salt Lake Stingers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Anaheim Angels.

Terms of the agreement were not released. The deal must be approved by the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues.

Clearing the bases

Free-agent outfielder Danny Bautista agreed to a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. … Right-hander Rick Helling agreed to a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers and would get a $550,000, one-year deal if he is added to the major league roster. … Right-hander Dave Burba agreed to a minor league contract with the Houston Astros and was invited to spring training. … Catcher Paul Bako finalized his $650,000, one-year contract with the Dodgers. … Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Kip Wells agreed to a one-year contract, then returned to the mound for the first time since he was sidelined Sept. 5 by an elbow injury.

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