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Fenway adding seats to Green Monster

| Thursday, Jan. 30, 2003

BOSTON — They won't provide the best view in Fenway Park. Far from it. Yet the 280 new seats planned atop the Green Monster should be very popular.

Fans will even have a chance to catch home run balls that used to drop into the screen above the left-field wall.

The Boston Red Sox have little reason to believe fans think the seats, expected to be ready for the home opener April 11, will deface one of baseball's most recognizable sights, team president Larry Lucchino said Wednesday.

"We've gotten nothing but positive feedback. Lots of people are eager to sit up there," he said. "I think they're going to be some of the coolest seats in baseball."

The Red Sox also unveiled other changes, which Lucchino characterized as "improvements" rather than "renovation."

Starting in April, the club will focus on the larger issue of long-term renovations of the stadium built in 1912, a study expected to take 6-12 months. Team owner John Henry said the question of renovations as opposed to building a new stadium hasn't been decided, although his first choice is a "major renovation of Fenway."

Lucchino says evidence will show teams did not conspire to bid down the price of free agents this offseason. "There was a shift in the market that was predicted by a lot of people," Lucchino said. "There are a lot of factors involved in the market we're living in currently. I don't believe collusion is one of them." Michael Weiner, a lawyer for the players' association, filed a request last Thursday for management documents about negotiations with free agents during this offseason. The move could be a prelude to a possible collusion grievance by the union.

  • The Texas Rangers and pitcher Francisco Cordero agreed to a $900,000, one-year contract. Cordero had been the last unsigned Rangers player in salary arbitration.

  • Five-time All-Star Andres Galarraga signed a minor league contract with the National League champion San Francisco Giants yesterday and was invited to spring training.

  • Billy Koch and the Chicago White Sox agreed to a two-year contract worth $10,625,000. Koch, acquired in December from the Oakland Athletics in a six-player trade, gets $4.25 million this year and $6,375,000 in 2004.

  • David Cone could be ready to call it a career. Cone, who did not pitch last season but kept open the possibility of coming back, may be ready for retirement.

    BASKETBALL

    Sacramento Kings forward Chris Webber will miss at least three weeks with a sprained left ankle, the same injury that sidelined him for the first 20 games of last season. A magnetic resonance imaging exam test was negative yesterday, meaning there isn't anything broken.

  • Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest was suspended for four games yesterday for his run-in with Heat coach Pat Riley and flashing an obscene gesture toward the crowd. Artest also committed a flagrant foul on Heat guard Caron Butler by pushing him into the stands in Monday night's game in Miami.

  • Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan was suspended for seven games by the NBA for shoving an official. Sloan and official Courtney Kirkland exchanged words face-to-face in the first quarter of the Jazz's 102-92 victory at Sacramento on Tuesday night.

    FOOTBALL

    The Pitt coaching staff is back intact with the appointments of two new assistants. Charlie Partridge was introduced as defensive ends coach yesterday, and Dino Babers is expected to be introduced as running backs coach as soon as today.

  • The Detroit Lions plan to interview former San Francisco 49ers coach Steve Mariucci by the end of the week, a source within the league said yesterday.

  • St. Louis offensive tackle Orlando Pace will skip the Pro Bowl to rest from an accumulation of injuries. Pace was selected to his fourth straight Pro Bowl despite missing six games last season with calf and hamstring injuries. He also sprained his right knee in the Rams' season-ending win over San Francisco.

    COLLEGE BASKETBALL

  • Arizona is investigating an accusation that star forward Luke Walton was a lookout while other players stole money and candy from a hotel vending machine. A guest saw men wearing jackets of the top-ranked Wildcats grab up to 80 candy bars and change from the machine in Lawrence, Kan., over the weekend, police Lt. Dave Cobb said.

    HOCKEY

    Joe Reekie retired yesterday after 17 seasons as an NHL defenseman with five teams. The 37-year-old Reekie finishes with 25 goals, 139 assists and 1,326 penalty minutes. He had 14 straight seasons with a positive plus-minus rating.

  • Sabres forward Chris Gratton will miss the next two games because of a mild concussion after scoring four goals in the last three games.

    JURISPRUDENCE

    A judge dismissed several counts in the $100 million wrongful death lawsuit filed by Korey Stringer 's widow against the Minnesota Vikings, but the decision did not affect the most important claims in the case.

    TENNIS

    Richard Krajicek overcame Radek Stepanek 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (13) yesterday to reach the Milan Indoors quarterfinals.

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