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Notebook: Prior switches caps, receives degree

| Saturday, May 15, 2004

LOS ANGELES -- Already a successful multimillionaire, Mark Prior was determined to return to college and get his degree.

The Chicago Cubs' ace not only received his bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California on Friday, he addressed his fellow business school graduates.

"Greg Maddux told me yesterday, 'Boy, you are overqualified for this job.' You think I'm proud of that comment• You bet I am," Prior said during his brief speech.

He was drafted by the Cubs and signed a $10.5 million, four-year contract in June 2001 after his junior season, when he was 15-1 with a 1.69 ERA.

Prior spent the past three offseasons finishing his undergraduate classes.

Portland outlines ballpark financing plan

Hoping to attract the Montreal Expos, Portland, Ore., officials outlined a financing plan that would provide $340 million toward a new ballpark.

The plan nearly meets the projected $350 million cost of a new ballpark. Baseball officials have said they want financing for a new stadium in place before deciding where to relocate the team.

"We have a clear path to achieving $340 million at this point, so we're every close to reaching the total financing goal," city facilities manager David Logsdon said.

Posada feeling better, but still out with broken nose

Jorge Posada had the bandage removed from his broken nose and much of the swelling to his face had subsided, but he remained out of lineup for the New York Yankees' game against Seattle.

The catcher, who was injured by a throw while trying to break up a double play Wednesday against Anaheim, said he expected to sit out today's game, too.

"Maybe, Sunday," he said of a possible return to action. "Most likely Tuesday."

Around the league

Houston manager Jimy Williams was suspended for one game and fined an undisclosed amount after a tirade against umpires during a game in Atlanta last weekend. ... Philadelphia Phillies closer Billy Wagner was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin. ... A man whose company has tried to move the Expos to Puerto Rico said his group now is interested in acquiring the Atlanta Braves. Charles Vaughn, an Atlanta-based investor who helped form SportSouth USA, said Time Warner Inc., the Braves' owner, has not yet been contacted. ... Jose Vidro is close to signing a $30 million, four-year contract extension with the Montreal Expos. ... The Blue Jays activated right-hander Bob File from the 15-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Syracuse. ... The Cleveland Indians placed right-hander Jeff D'Amico on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain and designated right-hander Jack Cressend for assignment.

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