Family won't give up control of Mets

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With the New York Mets under pressure because of a lawsuit and searching for investors, Jeff Wilpon insisted on the eve of spring training that his family won't give up control of the team.

Owner Fred Wilpon and son Jeff, the team's chief operating officer, said Jan. 28 they were exploring selling up to 25 percent of the franchise because of "uncertainty" caused by the lawsuit filed by Irving H. Picard , the trustee trying to recover money for victims of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme. Picard is seeking at least $300 million from the Wilpons, team president and brother-in-law Saul Katz and related Sterling Equities entities.

"We're not selling controlling interest in the team," Jeff Wilpon said Wednesday. "It's not on the table."

Picard claims the Wilpons and Katz were net winners from their Madoff investments and ignored warnings that Madoff's high returns might be false.

TWINS: Minnesota's Joe Nathan is moving closer to regaining his closer role, throwing outside off a mound for the first time since reconstructive right elbow surgery nearly a year ago.

CUBS: Chicago center fielder Marlon Byrd reiterated his trust in BALCO founder Victor Conte and said that's why he's still working with a man who served jail time for steroids distribution.

PADRES: San Diego pitcher Mat Latos is making it clear he's no fan of San Francisco.

A San Diego-area memorabilia store advertised three baseballs with Latos' signature and the words "I hate SF" below. The balls sold for $1,100.

BREWERS: Second baseman Rickie Weeks and Milwaukee have agreed to a $38.5 million, four-year contract that contains a 2015 option.


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