CINCINNATI - Pete Rose never expected baseballs bearing his autograph and a printed apology for betting on baseball to be sold publicly, his business agent said Monday.
A New Jersey auction house plans to put 30 such balls up for bid in April, unsure how much they will fetch. The baseballs belonged to a memorabilia collector who died in December.
Baseball's banished hits king signed the baseballs for some of his friends about a year ago but didn't want them put up for sale, according to business agent Warren Greene.
"These guys are collectors. Pete signed for them," Greene said in a phone interview. "Pete made zero dollars for signing them."
The baseballs say "I'm sorry I bet on baseball" in block letters, with Rose's autograph directly below. Greene didn't know who suggested the inscription.
Rose accepted a lifetime ban for gambling in 1989 but denied for nearly 15 years that he bet on baseball. He finally acknowledged in his latest autobiography, published in January 2004, that he made baseball wagers while he managed the Cincinnati Reds.
Greene said a collector who got some of the "I'm sorry" baseballs gave 30 of them to Barry Halper, a limited partner in the New York Yankees who died last December. The family contacted Robert Edward Auctions to sell his sports memorabilia.
DEVIL RAYS: Pitcher Scott Kazmir made 41 throws Monday in his first session of playing catch in 10 days.
The All-Star left-hander hadn't thrown a ball since Sept. 8, when he felt discomfort in his ailing left shoulder. He stopped that session after nine throws.
"Everything felt perfect," Kazmir said Monday. "I didn't feel one thing. Take a day off, play catch again and see how it feels."
Kazmir has been on the disabled list twice since the All-Star break because of shoulder soreness. He hasn't pitched in a game since Aug. 22.
TIGERS: Second baseman Placido Polanco said Monday he hopes to play this weekend at Kansas City, contradicting his assessment a day earlier when he stated he was finished for the season because of a separated left shoulder.
"I was very confused yesterday," Polanco said. "I said it because I was really frustrated about a lot of things. We had just lost the game that we should have won, I'm not able to do anything and my arm is extremely hurting."
A contrite Polanco said a cortisone shot he got Saturday had initially caused him pain that was similar to the discomfort he felt in the days after the injury. That's one factor he blamed in his premature season-ending declaration. He was also upset by the Tigers' 10-inning loss to Baltimore.
Polanco said his shoulder felt much better and that he was able to take batting practice.
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