Magic Johnson's group to buy Dodgers

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Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt announced an agreement Tuesday night to sell the bankrupt team for $2 billion to a group that includes former Lakers star Magic Johnson and former Atlanta Braves and Wash­ington Nationals President Stan Kasten.

The agreement, revealed about five hours after Major League Baseball owners approved three finalists for the auction, is to lead to a transfer of the team by the end of April. It is subject to approval in federal bankruptcy court.

Mark Walter, the chief executive officer of the financial services firm Guggenheim Partners, would become the controlling owner. The price would easily be a record for a North American sports franchise.

As part of the agreement, the Dodgers said McCourt and “certain affiliates of the purchasers” would acquire the land surrounding Dodger Stadium for $150 million.

The acquiring group, called Guggenheim Baseball Management, includes Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter Guber.

“This agreement with Guggenheim reflects both the strength and future potential of the Los Angeles Dodgers and assures that the Dodgers will have new ownership with deep local roots, which bodes well for the Dodg­ers, its fans and the Los Angeles community,” McCourt said.

McCourt paid $430 million in 2004 to buy the team, Dodger Stadium and 250 acres of land that include the parking lots. The sale by the Fox division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. left the team with about $50 million in cash. The team’s debt stood at $579 million as of January, according to a court filing, so even after McCourt’s divorce payment, taxes and legal and banking fees, he stands to make several hundred million dollars.

Kasten is expected to wind up as the team’s top day-to-day executive.

TIGERS: Third baseman Miguel Cabrera was cleared Tuesday to play again, more than a week after a bad-hop grounder broke a bone beneath his right eye.

He is expected to return to the lineup within a couple of days, though manager Jim Leyland hasn’t committed to the exact date the AL batting champion will play.

The Tigers open their season April 5 at home against Boston. Leyland emphatically said that if Cabrera is healthy, he will start at third base and bat third.

YANKEES: Reliever Joba Chamberlain said he fully expects to recover from his trampoline injury and pitch in the majors this season.

The accident dislocated his right ankle and put him in a cast for six weeks.

General manager Brian Cashman said there is no official timeframe for the right-hander’s return.

The 26-year-old said he didn’t break any bones and has been free of infection.

BREWERS: Catcher Jonathan Lucroy has the security agreed to a five-year contract worth about $11 million. The deal would increase to $13 million if he is eligible for salary arbitration after this season.

The 25-year-old hit .265 with 12 home runs in 136 games last year, his first full season in the major leagues.


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